Coming in our lifetime: Germany’s “train of the future”

Train travel just got even more attractive.

European train rides have long been favored by the well-traveled, bringing us back in time with champagne bars and grand suites (the Belmond Venice Simplon-Orient-Express) and even serving as inspiration for The Hogwarts Express (The Jacobite Steam through Scotland). Across the continent, train travel allows travelers to seamlessly cross borders and swap cities with little more than a ticket in-hand, all the while taking in spectacular sights. And in years to come, it could grow more appealing to commuters, too.

Last week, German railway company Deutsche Bahn unveiled ‘Ideenzug,’ which translates to ‘Idea Train’—a regional train of the future, if you will. The project has been in the works for years, and while it’s still in the development stage, the commuter train could be decked out with everything from “reservable sports cabins” with spin bikes and digital personal trainers to big screen TVs, an area to play video games, and “privacy pods” where travelers can snag a little R&R. Suffer from motion sickness? Chairs on the Idea Train would swivel, facing any direction you want. Some of the seats would also be “noise-canceling,” thanks to a curved design and glass panes separating seats. It’s unclear where exactly the Idea Train would run, but the project is in partnership with Germany’s Southeast Bavarian Railway.

Idea Train
Courtesy Deutsche Bahn

Chairs on the Idea Train will swivel, facing any direction you want.

Future tests will help determine which design ideas prove most promising, Jörg Sandvoss, the CEO of Deutsche Bahn Regio told International Railway Journal. “When developing such concepts, it is not about implementing a train with all the creative ideas at once, but rather taking individual approaches into consideration for new trains,” he said.

The Idea Train hopes to compete with both the impending reality of self-driving cars—as well as, locally, the construction of Germany’s A94 highway, which will stretch from Munich to Simbach am Inn when it’s completed in 2019, according to The Local.

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