10 of the Coolest Trains in the World


Trains are not usually stellar examples of design — all that ugly gray-blue upholstery speckled to look less dirty, the gray plastic tray tables and greasy windows — but we recently came across these exciting photos of a Parisian train transformed into a moving replica of the Palace of Versailles, and couldn’t stop thinking how much we wanted to take a ride on it. Inspired, we’ve put together this compendium of some of the coolest train interiors in the world — from the gorgeous to the ulta-modern to the covered in kitties, whether permanent or temporary. Just imagine if some of these pulled into one of the most beautiful subway stations in the world — it’d pretty much be a design explosion. Check out a few amazing trains after the jump, and if we’ve missed a sweet ride, let us know about it in the comments.

This commuter train, which travels in between Paris and the city of Versailles, has recently been decked out like the Palace of Versailles itself, complete with paintings, golden sculptures and a recreation of the Hall of Mirrors. Why even get off the train? [Photos via Lost at E Minor]

Most of the train cars on this list are here because they’re visually interesting or cleverly designed, and while Warsaw’s Inspiro subway cars, designed by BMW, are definitely no slouches in that department (look at those gorgeous tree-like poles and handsome seats), they’re really cool for another reason — the cars are 97.5% recyclable. The new trains will be introduced into the transit system over the next six months. [Photos via Fast Co Design]

Last year, to promote the new season of Boardwalk Empire, an authentic vintage subway train from the 1920s was put back into operation on the 2/3 line in Manhattan. Complete with authentic Prohibition era details like rattan seats, ceiling fans and drop sash windows, not to mention some pretty snazzy lighting, it was a beautiful train ride through time. [Photos via Gothamist]

This adorable train on the Wakayama Electric Railway in Japan — billed as the cutest train in the world — is called the Tama Densha, Tama being the station’s cat. We’re pretty comfortable agreeing on the cutest train in the world title. [Photos via I Ride the Harlem Line]

Around the holidays, the MTA and the New York City Transit Museum typically roll out a few surprises for the commuters — vintage subway cars that bring you to your destination while bringing you back in time. But the holidays aren’t the only times commuters get to experience ages past — this spring, a vintage subway car, the Lo-V, was brought back to life to bring passengers from Grand Central Station to the first home game of the season at Yankee Stadium, as it last did in the 1960s. [Photos via The New York Times ]

Another train on the Wakayama Railway aimed at young riders. This one was designed by Eiji Mitooka and is called the “omoden” or “toy train.” Looks like fun to us. [Photos via Fun on the Net]

Legendary designer Christian Lacroix designed not only these ultra-modern interiors for France’s TGV Est, but also (of course) uniforms for the conductors. [Photos via Been Seen]

This is only a projection of a Eurostar train running between Paris and London as designed by Christopher Jenner, but we think it sounds amazing: “The carriage finished in hardwood, brushed Brass and Carbon fibre illustrates a hybrid of the golden age and the new. Individual accommodation in single seats provides essential armrest services (air, power, connection) and retractable privacy, while large screen windows open a view to the World flying by.” Retractable privacy! That’s what we’re talking about. [Photos via Trendland]

In 2008, to celebrate their new store, Ikea transformed the Kobe Portliner Monorail in Kobe, Japan into a rolling advertisement — but it’s a rolling advertisement that kind of makes us want to live in a train, a feeling we’ve never, ever had before. [Photos via Pink Tentacle]

Switzerland’s Glacier Express trains are sleek and sophisticated, but let’s be real: the designers know what they’ve got, and they intend to make the best use of it they can. Hence the amazing, enormous picture windows that allow the trains’ interior to become the countryside’s amazing views. Can’t beat that. [Photos via Rail Europe]