Developing a Design Research Approach to Inter-city Rail Carriage Interiors

Sylvain Jolivet, Selby Coxon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Historically, rail had been the first great arbiter of travel over significant distances that could be experienced by the common man. A nineteenth century technology that overcame distances in journey times unobtainable by the contemporary means of that century. Since then the travelling public has fallen out of love with the mode. Contrast the romanticism of travelling by luxury sleeping coach to the crowded standing room only of a commuter service. The late twentieth century has been dominated by increased accessibility to air travel and the associated culture that manifests itself in airport termini, aircraft interiors and associated accessories. However, High Speed Rail (HSR) is enjoying a resurgent interest in global national transport planning agendas. Economic and sustainability metrics indicate benefits over alternative transportation methods and over comparable geographical distances (1). Recent developments in rail carriage interior design both leverage the ‘flavour’ of the airline aesthetic with a new confident form language that celebrates the space to move about, amenity, comfort and psychological wellbeing that places the mode at a competitive advantage. This chapter examines the critical issues and contemporary approach as exemplified by the French National Railway (SNCF) to create a human centred resurgently confident approach to the future of rail.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvancing a Design Approach to Enriching Public Mobility
EditorsSelby Coxon, Robbie Napper
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-64722-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-64721-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameIntelligent Systems Reference Library
ISSN (Print)1868-4394
ISSN (Electronic)1868-4408


  • Comfort
  • Emotional wellbeing
  • High speed rail
  • Sensory experience
  • User experience

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