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The futuristic luxury interiors of the British Bullet Train

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Hitachi Rail Europe (HRE) recently unveiled concepts for the interiors of their new high-speed “British Bullet Trains” and they look (quite frankly) incredible. Subtly futuristic without looking cheap and surprisingly sparse without coming across as under-developed, the designs, which were produced using extensive user research and passenger studies, were first revealed to the public at the Railtex exhibition in Birmingham earlier this month, with visitors also able to explore the project through a 3D imaging showcase and a virtual reality walk-through. Industry feedback thus far has been very positive.

Hitachi Rail Europe recently unveiled concepts for the interiors of their new high-speed “British Bullet Trains”

According to HRE brand and marketing specialist Kendra Ayling, the idea behind the BBT concept was to “Put passenger comfort and customer experience” at the forefront of the design process. She said: “Every effort has been made to create a spacious environment for passengers,” and they also “Wanted passengers to feel that they would be in a high-quality environment, conducive for long-distance journeys.” Part of this, she continues was “Making sure that there would be significant luggage space, which would not encroach on the area around it.” They also wanted to produce a concept “Which would reflect the very high-speed nature of travel, complete with clean lines and a bold finish.” The design draws upon influences from existing HRE designs and UK train stock, and looks to address the needs of future passengers, providing a train that has the flexibility to grow and evolve with society. Design influences have been extended beyond rail to also examine the automotive and aeronautical industries, creating a balance between comfort, speed, efficiency and aesthetics.

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Whilst it looks undeniably impressive, the project has yet to be officially commissioned, so the designs are purely speculative at the moment. A HRE spokesperson said: “The train is in initial development stages based on our experience of HS1 and Shinkansen production in Japan and we are currently seeking industry feedback on the designs presented. It's also far too soon to say exactly what speed “High speed” would run at in the UK, but HRE is saying this design could represent a HRE response to any UK government’s tender for high speed.

The design looks to address the needs of future passengers, providing a train that has the flexibility to grow and evolve with society

HRE has a solid recent history in high-speed trains of course, with their equally impressive designs for the UK’s HS1, which launched in 2009 and which travels between London and Kent at 140mph, and Japan’s Shinkansen, which can travel at almost 200mph! As part of the Department for Transport's Intercity Express Programme, Hitachi is also replacing the UK's fleet of inter-city trains, with the new rolling stock running on the Great Western and East Coast Main Lines. These trains will be built at a new state-of-the-art rail vehicle manufacturing facility in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, which will open in autumn of this year. The facility will create 730 jobs in the region and thousands more in the wider UK supply chain, underpinning apprenticeships and engineering skills development across the rail community.

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