Trains: Luxury ‘palace on rails’ concept features a 1,300ft-long GLASS panoramic design


A new luxury train concept which features 1,300 feet of panoramic glass windows and sides that fold down to create occasional balconies has been revealed.

The brainchild of French designer Thierry Gaugain, the ‘G Train’ is envisaged as a $350 million ‘palace on rails’ that will elevate the railway travel experience itself.

Each of the 14 carriages will feature smart glass windows and ceilings, which can be turned from translucent to opaque at the flick of a switch to adjust the ambience.

Mr Gaugain has brought his concept to life in a series of exquisite computer-rendered 3D images showing both the outside and interior of the train’s design.

With its dining car and arboretum, G Train resembles the upper-class carriages of the titular train in Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi movie, ‘Snowpiercer’, and its TV reboot.

In the film, based on four French graphic novels, the last survivors of humanity seek refuge on the constantly global-circumnavigating train following a climatic disaster.

Lower-class, ‘tail end’ passenger Curtis Everett (played by Chris Evans) leads a revolution that fights to the front of the train and its mysterious owner, Wilford.

Unfortunately for railway enthusiasts, the G Train will likely fall into similarly exclusive hands, with Mr Gaugain saying it is will made-to-measure for ‘one unique owner’.

A new luxury train concept (pictured) which features 1,300 feet of panoramic glass windows and sides that fold down to create occasional balconies has been revealed

A new luxury train concept (pictured) which features 1,300 feet of panoramic glass windows and sides that fold down to create occasional balconies has been revealed

G Train — with its dining car and arboretum (depicted) — resembles the upper-class carriages of the titular train in Bong Joon-ho's sci-fi movie, 'Snowpiercer', and its TV reboot

G Train — with its dining car and arboretum (depicted) — resembles the upper-class carriages of the titular train in Bong Joon-ho's sci-fi movie, 'Snowpiercer', and its TV reboot

G Train — with its dining car and arboretum (depicted) — resembles the upper-class carriages of the titular train in Bong Joon-ho’s sci-fi movie, ‘Snowpiercer’, and its TV reboot

In the film 'Snowpiercer' the last survivors of humanity live on a constantly global-circumnavigating train (pictured) following a climatic disaster until 'tail end' passenger Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) leads a revolution that fights to the front of the train and its mysterious owner, Wilford. Unfortunately for railway enthusiasts, the G Train will likely fall into similarly exclusive hands — with Mr Gaugain saying it is will made-to-measure for 'one unique owner'

In the film 'Snowpiercer' the last survivors of humanity live on a constantly global-circumnavigating train (pictured) following a climatic disaster until 'tail end' passenger Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) leads a revolution that fights to the front of the train and its mysterious owner, Wilford. Unfortunately for railway enthusiasts, the G Train will likely fall into similarly exclusive hands — with Mr Gaugain saying it is will made-to-measure for 'one unique owner'

In the film ‘Snowpiercer’ the last survivors of humanity live on a constantly global-circumnavigating train (pictured) following a climatic disaster until ‘tail end’ passenger Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) leads a revolution that fights to the front of the train and its mysterious owner, Wilford. Unfortunately for railway enthusiasts, the G Train will likely fall into similarly exclusive hands — with Mr Gaugain saying it is will made-to-measure for ‘one unique owner’

G TRAIN SPECS 

Length: 14 cars over some 1,300 feet

Cost: $350 million (£253 million)

Build time: Est. 2.5 years

Designer: Thierry Gaugain

Frame: Tintable smart windows 

Features: Sides fold into balconies

Accommodation: Room for 18 guests 

Other Rooms: Private accommodation, dining car, grand salon, arboretum, welcome hall

‘It’s not a public train, or a passenger train,’ Mr Gaugain told CNN Travel. 

‘The owner we envision is someone who is aware of the uniqueness of this train and understands that we are not just talking about transportation.#

‘It’s about travel, not how fast you get from point A to point B. Travel is not about speed. It’s about taking the time, because time is the only treasure we have.’

Travel, he continued, is a time to ‘slow down’ and focus on inner reflection.

Mr Gaugain is best known for his work on luxury yachts in collaboration with the French designed Philippe Starck, developing, for example, the 257-foot, £90 million ‘Venus’ superyacht commissioned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. 

In fact, Mr Gaugain said that he began conceptualising the G Train with someone like Mr Jobs’ widow — the billionaire and businesswoman Laurene Powell Jobs — in mind.

However, the designer has yet to find a customer to commission and pay for the train’s construction, which will likely at least two-and-a-half years to complete.

For those lucky enough to be invited aboard G Train by its eventual owner (or perhaps those who take inspiration from Snowpiercer and embark by force!)  entrance will be gained via the ‘welcome hall’ at the centre of the train.

From here, they can access the main residential cars, including the owner’s private rooms and accommodation for 18 guests, as well as assorted entertainment spaces, among whose number will be a grand salon designed to host receptions.

Like regular trains, the carriages of the ersatz palace will be able to be separated and reconfigured, thereby allowing, for example, part of the train to be detached to travel on its own.

Each of the 14 carriages will feature smart glass windows and ceilings, which can be turned from translucent to opaque at the flick of a switch to adjust the ambience

Each of the 14 carriages will feature smart glass windows and ceilings, which can be turned from translucent to opaque at the flick of a switch to adjust the ambience

Each of the 14 carriages will feature smart glass windows and ceilings, which can be turned from translucent to opaque at the flick of a switch to adjust the ambience

Mr Gaugain is best known for his work on luxury yachts in collaboration with the French designed Philippe Starck — developing, for example, the 257-foot, £90 million 'Venus' superyacht commissioned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Pictured: the G Train concept features glass sides that fold down to create occasional viewing balconies, allowing for the floor space of the luxury train's cars to be expanded

Mr Gaugain is best known for his work on luxury yachts in collaboration with the French designed Philippe Starck — developing, for example, the 257-foot, £90 million 'Venus' superyacht commissioned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Pictured: the G Train concept features glass sides that fold down to create occasional viewing balconies, allowing for the floor space of the luxury train's cars to be expanded

Mr Gaugain is best known for his work on luxury yachts in collaboration with the French designed Philippe Starck — developing, for example, the 257-foot, £90 million ‘Venus’ superyacht commissioned by late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Pictured: the G Train concept features glass sides that fold down to create occasional viewing balconies, allowing for the floor space of the luxury train’s cars to be expanded

Mr Gaugain has reported that he is collaborating with various experts to explore the feasibility of the G train concept.

These include UK engineering firm Eckersley O’Callaghan, glass manufacturer Saint-Gobain, Swiss train builder Stadler and security company Marine Guard.

A major difficulty for a train that, like the fictional Snowpiercer, is designed to be able to operate around the world will be in accommodating local technical standards and, more significantly, gauges of track.

While many countries use the ‘standard’ or ‘international’ gauge — in which the rails are separated by 4 feet and 8.5 inches — for their main lines, this does not hold true universally. Russia, Finland and Uzbekistan, for example, use different spacings. 

‘Such a train is very complicated, because there is no train that runs on all the tracks around the world that complies with all the systems,’ Mr Gaugain conceded.

Certainly, however, the designer says that he imagines the train to be compatible with the railways networks of Europe and the Americas, on whose lines it will travel at speeds reaching up to 100 miles per hour (160 kph).

For those lucky enough to be invited aboard G Train by its eventual owner, entrance will be gained via the 'welcome hall' at the centre of the train. From here, they can access the main residential cars — including the owner's private rooms and accommodation for 18 guests — and assorted entertainment spaces, among whose number will be a grand salon designed to host receptions and a dining car (as depicted in this concept art)

For those lucky enough to be invited aboard G Train by its eventual owner, entrance will be gained via the 'welcome hall' at the centre of the train. From here, they can access the main residential cars — including the owner's private rooms and accommodation for 18 guests — and assorted entertainment spaces, among whose number will be a grand salon designed to host receptions and a dining car (as depicted in this concept art)

For those lucky enough to be invited aboard G Train by its eventual owner, entrance will be gained via the ‘welcome hall’ at the centre of the train. From here, they can access the main residential cars — including the owner’s private rooms and accommodation for 18 guests — and assorted entertainment spaces, among whose number will be a grand salon designed to host receptions and a dining car (as depicted in this concept art)

The announcement of the G Train concept comes at a time when travellers are returning to the concept of long-distance railway journeys as they look for more environmentally friendly and less carbon-intensive ways to travel around the world.

Various new trains and lines are being planned across the globe, including Italy’s ‘Dolce Vita’ train, which will run 10 routes through the country’s best-known vistas, and the ‘Midnight’ sleeper trains which will link Paris to 12 European destinations.

Austria’s ÖBB rail operator has also recently announced that it will be starting a collaboration with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, while the Swiss Federal Railways and France’s SNCF are planning an overnight service from Barcelona to Zurich.

Both the 2013 Snowpiercer film and recent Netflix TV reboot (pictured) are based on a series of graphic novels originally published in French in 1982 under the title of 'Le Transperceneige'

Both the 2013 Snowpiercer film and recent Netflix TV reboot (pictured) are based on a series of graphic novels originally published in French in 1982 under the title of 'Le Transperceneige'

Both the 2013 Snowpiercer film and recent Netflix TV reboot (pictured) are based on a series of graphic novels originally published in French in 1982 under the title of ‘Le Transperceneige’

Both the comics and the film concern the efforts of 'tail-end' passengers — the lower-class individuals at the back of the train — to fight their way forward to the engine at the front. Pictured: the tail-end of the Snowpiercer in the 2013 movie, with John Hurt as 'Gilliam'

Both the comics and the film concern the efforts of 'tail-end' passengers — the lower-class individuals at the back of the train — to fight their way forward to the engine at the front. Pictured: the tail-end of the Snowpiercer in the 2013 movie, with John Hurt as 'Gilliam'

Both the comics and the film concern the efforts of ‘tail-end’ passengers — the lower-class individuals at the back of the train — to fight their way forward to the engine at the front. Pictured: the tail-end of the Snowpiercer in the 2013 movie, with John Hurt as ‘Gilliam’

The Snowpiercer — a precariously balance ecosystem in its own right — harbours myriad environments, from the grungy tail-end and security section through to lavish arboretums, nightclubs (pictured) aquariums and restaurants

The Snowpiercer — a precariously balance ecosystem in its own right — harbours myriad environments, from the grungy tail-end and security section through to lavish arboretums, nightclubs (pictured) aquariums and restaurants

The Snowpiercer — a precariously balance ecosystem in its own right — harbours myriad environments, from the grungy tail-end and security section through to lavish arboretums, nightclubs (pictured) aquariums and restaurants

‘The train isn’t an object from the past,’ Mr Gaugain insists.

‘There is nothing more sustainable than trains when it comes to traveling objects. The plane is way behind, and other means are very energy consuming.

‘What we have in mind with this train is to make a vehicle for the future. A marriage of extreme luxury and the best technology.’ 

Le Transperceneige (Snowpiercer)

Pictured: the cover of Snowpiercer Vol 1.

Pictured: the cover of Snowpiercer Vol 1.

Pictured: the cover of Snowpiercer Vol 1.

Both the 2013 Snowpiercer film and recent Netflix TV reboot are based on a series of graphic novels originally published in French in 1982 under the title of ‘Le Transperceneige’.

In all the stories — which differ in specific plots — the last survivors of humanity seek refuge on the titular ‘Snowpiercer’, a constantly global-circumnavigating train, in the wake of a climatic disaster. 

Both the comics and the film concern the efforts of ‘tail-end’ passengers — the lower-class individuals at the back of the train — to fight their way forward to the engine at the front.

The Snowpiercer — a precariously balance ecosystem in its own right — harbours myriad environments, from the grungy tail-end and security section through to lavish arboretums, nightclubs, aquariums and restaurants.

Alongside exploring issues of class differences, Snowpiercer can be read as a wider analogy for the seemingly inevitable but unsustainable nature of modern-day capitalism.



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Written by bourbiza

bourbiza is an entertainment reporter for iltuoiphone News and is based in Los Angeles.

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