Making the Concorde of Trains

Making the Concorde of Trains

Not ready to sit on his laurels, Paul Priestman, you could say, is the high priest of high-speed train design. Responsible for creating the Pendolino, an Italian family of tilting trains used in in Italy, Spain, Portugal and other European countries, Priestman now has his eyes set on bringing this technology and design to his native Britain.  By tilting, the train can round curves designed for slower trains at higher speeds without causing undue discomfort to passengers.

His next-generation design idea is a sleek double-decker with an “extreme nose section” and offers many unique features including private “pods” for a variety of uses. Priestman wants to persuade the government that there is an urgent need to move forward on his HS2 design, believing it will literally transport Great Britain into a transportation icon. Think Concorde. Spitfire. The Routemaster bus.

He describes this project as, “vital for the future of Britain, as a way of championing British design and engineering in a fiercely competitive global economy.”

The train will feature private, self-contained pods for business meetings or family groups, built-in entertainment systems, play areas for children and a luxury first class section with open plan lounge and bar, which is intended to compete head-on with the most luxurious airline classes of travel (take that, 787.)

Priestman is currently working with the Chinese manufacturer Sifang to design China’s new high speed trains. He also believes that an iconic British train design will be “one of the most successful weapons in the battle to persuade people to leave their cars at home, avoid domestic air travel and make rail their first choice. Train travel needs to be as exciting as flying and as sexy as the latest car.”

Cleaner air and excited passengers? Sounds like he’s on the right track.