Every once in a while, a train comes along that looks more like an aircraft than a pointy box on wheels. These designs range from "future rolling stock" halfway through the assembly line to "starship Enterprise on wheels" that are about as real as Marty McFly's hoverboard, but may very well represent the future of the railway industry in more ways than one.
Today, we take a look at some of the prettiest and most advanced trains of the future, from those that are about to enter operation to ones that are more likely an engineer's wet dream. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's several photos and a few hundred words on some of 2019's sexiest trains of the future.
Alstom's HS2 Concept
The HS2 is causing a lot of headache for a lot of people, but the value of a high-speed line connecting London to the Midlands is pretty significant. Alstom's proposal for the high-speed project which will see travel speed between London and Manchester reduced by half is not only pleasing, but also capable of tilting to serve both the HS2 line and the existing network of tracks that connect to it.
This proposed train can reach 360km/h and is based off pre-existing designs already approved by Amtrak in the US. Alstom also pitched a double-decker train for the smaller connection routes outside the main HS2 high-speed track, but we don't have good pictures of that one, so never mind.
If you are looking at this and thinking "wait, this train already exists", you're (mostly) right. The N700S is the latest development in Japan's world-famous line of very high-speed bullet trains, and it is currently undergoing tests to replace all other models from 2020.
They caught the eye of the Texas Central Railway, who plans to put the proposed N700-I export version to use on their potential Dallas/Fort Worth - Houston high-speed line. The Shinkansen (Japanese for "bullet train") are known the world over for its reliability and exceptional operating speed, and a few of them may finally leave Nippon's borders towards the Lone Star state in the future. "May" being the imperative word.
Hitachi-Bombardier's HS2 Concept
Another HS2 concept, this one pushes the boundaries of passenger experience to seemingly fictitious levels. While the train itself is a very sleek, futuristic-looking high-speed ensemble, it's the interior that goes all out. The first class -- besides the big, comfortable seats that are common in the category -- also feature glass electronic desks and windows that project information directly on their surfaces.
The desk has a mobile port on top for what looks like wireless recharging and Bluetooth/NFC connection, while the windows display real time information about the trip. such as time, and weather. This HUD-like approach to data had tentatively made its move from fighter airplanes to consumer cars but never took off, so we'll have to wait and see if it becomes a staple of the rail sector in upcoming years.
Closer to reality than most trains on this list, Alstom's Avelia Liberty is due to start operations in 2021 to replace Amtrak's 20-year-old Acela Express. With a top speed of 350 km/h and an active tilting system, this new stock will be able to navigate the many curves dotting the Northeast Corridor's high-speed route.
The Liberty is currently under construction and it is expected to start operations between New York City - Washington DC - Boston in 2021, completely replacing the fleet by 2022 and serving nearly 3.5 million passengers per year. If you're in the Eastern seaboard anytime in the next 5 years, try to step aboard one of those new beauties.
Nova 1, Nova 2, and Nova 3
Back on this side of the pond, one of CAF's many contributions to British rail is the construction of these wonderful blue-tinted high speed trains. Starting operations this year, 44 of these five-car trains will enter operation with Transpennine Express.
Each model has a unique design, with Nova 1 and 2 acting as high-speed long range trains while Nova 3 is a shorter range variant. All of them are electric, with Nova 1 and 3 also possessing a bi-modal diesel engine to supplant the electric power -- and all of them feature that beautiful metallic blue livery, which make the Nova 1 and especially the Nova 2 a beauty to look at.
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