Mercury high-speed train by Priestmangoode


Mercury high speed train by Priestmangoode

British designers Priestmangoode have unveiled a conceptual high-speed train for the UK.

Mercury high speed train by Priestmangoode

The London studio have created the design, entitled  Mercury, in an attempt persuade the British government to advance the project.

Mercury high speed train by Priestmangoode

Their 400 metre-long, double-decker train would travel at 225 mph and have one of the longest nose sections in the world.

Mercury high speed train by Priestmangoode

The interior would have areas with commuter seats and private berths, a childrens play area, and lounge and bar.

Mercury by Priestmangoode

Here's some more information from the designers:

Britain’s leading transport designer unveils plans for new high speed train

Britain’s leading transport designer has unveiled his concept for the UK’s new high speed train in a pre-emptive move to persuade the government of the urgent need to move forward as soon as possible with the project.

Paul Priestman of Priestmangoode, designer of the iconic Virgin Pendolino train, believes that the new high speed train is vital for the future of Britain, both as the low-carbon, sustainable transport of the future and as a crucial opportunity to champion British design and engineering in an increasingly competitive global economy.

Priestman believes his concept, Mercury, could be the new Great British design icon, following in the footsteps of Concorde, the Spitfire, Rolls Royce and the Routemaster bus and reawakening Britain’s authority as a global leader in design and technology.

Currently working with Sifang to design high speed trains for China and the rest of the world, Priestman believes that whilst the economic and political benefits of a world-class high speed rail network are clearly understood, having a train to be proud of is equally important. He believes that an iconic design is imperative in order to show Britain’s credentials to the world and in the battle to make Britain’s transport infrastructure more sustainable – by persuading people to leave their cars at home, eschew domestic air travel and make rail their first choice.

“It’s shameful that in the 21st century when we have to compete more than ever with the rest of the world, we don’t have a modern day global transport design icon to fly the flag for British industry.” says Priestman.

“Britain has an unrivalled record of great transport engineering projects – a record that died with Concorde. If we are to operate in a global design marketplace, we need to re-establish that influence by producing world-beating designs, moving the British engineering industry forward again and giving the country a much needed boost.

“But we also need to persuade people to travel by train to achieve a successful low-carbon economy. To do that, train travel needs to be as exciting as air travel and as sexy as the latest car. Not only does it need to be fast, it needs to be modern, luxurious, exciting and stylish. Mercury is all those things”.

About Mercury:

Mercury will be the first double-decker train to operate in the UK, with a unique interior design that Priestman believes will revolutionise domestic rail travel.

Introducing an entirely new concept in the way we travel, the train will incorporate a flexible, open plan design allowing for interaction, space and relaxation without compromising privacy. Both commuting and longer haul journeys will be more relaxed, comfortable and akin to modern living, featuring traditional commuter seats (designed to incorporate in-transit entertainment systems) alongside private berths – for families, private parties or business meetings echoing the nostalgia of compartmental train travel. A children’s play area will be integrated into the train and a luxury first class section will mirror the choice offered to air travellers with a luxury lounge and bar.

The exterior of the train, designed to emulate design classics such as Concorde, the Spitfire and Rolls Royce, will be 400 metres long and the extended nose section will be one of the most extreme in the world - vitally important for the aerodynamics of a train which will travel at 225mph.



Click on the symbol in the bottom right of the video player above to view the movie in full-screen HD.
Can’t see the movie? Click here.

Watch all our movies »

See also:


A380 by Priestmangoode
for Lufthansa
The Recovery Lounge
by Priestmangoode
Aquariva by
Marc Newson

Posted on Wednesday July 14th 2010 at 6:34 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • slater

    Fantastic, please bring this to the U.S.! Or maybe I’ll just move to Europe again…

  • Sal

    Sweet, nice visualizations

  • rek

    That’s unbelievably sexy. For a train.

  • thomas gravemaker

    Conceptual high speed train in Britain! There isn’t even a decent track to run it on! The country is only interested in driving cars.

  • muhallebi

    streamlining is back?

  • DOink

    Looks like a 500 Series Shinkansen.

  • james ’00’ taylor


  • Knock on the portuguese Goverment door! They are trying to build one.

  • kaptain krunch

    looks gorgeous, and I agree we need new trains.
    The conservatives have just cancelled the west coast rolling stock renewal plan, leaving all the trains going out of paddington still being from the late 70’s. The rest of the rail network also needs to be fully electrified and able to take high speed trains, which the government is dragging it’s heels over.

    Infrastructure planning takes ages and we won’t see a north south high speed line operating until 2020 at the earliest, more likely 2025 or later. And there’s very little point having a high speed train going at 90 miles an hour.

    How’s he got around the fact most of the tunnels in the UK are probably too low for double decker trains as well?

  • Will

    Would have more chance persuading Bin laden to try bacon.

  • Fantastic

  • brüno

    can’t beat Colanai. not even close..

  • Fantastic concept. The Concorde documentary shown a couple of nights ago really brought home how Britain has slumped in bringing revolutionary innovation to the world.

    With the roads congested and putrid air quality in London making cycling probably bad for you, we desperately need a double decker high-speed train network around the country to get people off the roads. The thing is you only have to see how packed the trains are to see the demand is there.

    Tunnels are not really an issue as new track would have to be laid, which may as well be on another course.

    Let’s see if Britain can take the initiative here, only unlike Concorde let’s get a slightly better salesman than Michael Heseltine for the world tour!

  • “It [needs to be] fast, it needs to be modern, luxurious, exciting and stylish.”

    Maybe we should just make sure our trains are affordable. Not extortionate.

    It is currently more expensive to travel from John O Groats to Lands End (tip to tip) than to fly to Tokyo.

  • tanya telford – T

    attended a panel talk on design a few weeks ago, Paul Priestman was one of the panel. He came across as having a huge amount of conviction for his profession, was obviously passionate about the UK & most definitely committed to good design for the future so I wish them every success with the project (not sure what politician’s & general public consensus etc is on the subject),

  • Great design i get a thunderbirds like feel about it.
    I’m just not sure railways and conservatives will ever be words to associate with each other.

  • BRian
  • Clean, modern, creative design obviously showing the talents of Priestman. Can Britain take the initiative, I doubt it. I suspect improvement to the current service will come a long time before anyone considers redevelopment needed for these trains.

  • Ivo

    looks really sexy

  • Fizz

    Sadly in this economic era and an accompanying history of a continual and woeful lack of investment in the UK rail system, a pipe dream…

  • horrible haridas

    this ‘looks’ fast

  • simple common sense

    Really is this appropriate? It seems to totally disregard the current economy and sense of the travel requirements of the British traveller. Blade Runner future scape nonsense. It would be nice to put a full stop under corporate interior proposal for public transport too – is this the right approach for a train to serve the requirements of all travelers. It’s no wonder design is often trivialised by those outside of the profession who hold the purse strings. Common sense needs to prevail and a practical vision of a train truly following in the steps of the 125, the Routemaster, and London Taxi -selfless designs, made to serve the traveller. Bon voyage.

  • Thami Schweichler

    Hey, there´s a 31Billion Dollars budget in Brazil do build a line that goes from Sao Paulo to Rio the Janeiro (aprox. 500km.). It´s for sure a great use for this marvelous creation. And it´s got to be built until 2014 for the Wolrd Cup!!!

  • Young chap

    @ simple common sense


  • Mitchum

    @Simple common sense – it’s that kind of thinking that has kept this country in the railway dark ages while Europe and Japan have advanced so much over the decades. We used to be at the forefront of design and technology in this particular field, and then we lost our bottle and left it to forward thinkers in other countries to do in theirs what we used to do here in ours. We need more of the kind of thinking that came up with this concept train, and less of the kind of thinking that you put out. If they put someone like you in charge of this kind of thing, then I’m sure we’ll all still be sitting in dark, cramped, overcrowded little carriages chugging along at 125mph while the rest of the world stretches its legs in luxury, inter-city zipping about at 300 to 400mph.

  • the final word

    Dear mitchum,

    It’s not about losing bottle and more about fitness for purpose and appropriateness of design.

    This do do do attitude leads us nowhere. This kind of thinking will never level the initial thoughts of those great engineers and designers that you make reference to.

    Today their job is in other fields. If you truly believe that lip gloss and nice renders for public transport proposals have a relevance to the world or even the UK at large then you are misguided in your opinion.

    You talk about the world stretching its legs in luxury like this is of major importance. Of more importance is the requirement for social mobility not luxury, and the right for all to travel on sensibly specified trains of reasonable comfort.

    BTW we do sit and stand in dark overcramped carriages everyday, however we have decided that this is part of commuter living. First class stands empty as will rendered meeting booths, whilst the majority block the gangways. Nice one common sense!

  • Manmeet Singh

    Rolls Royce trains are best and they should made it for high profile and also to other parts of Europe,Russia, Romania , and in asia also.where Rail transport is booming.RR should also go for nuclear powered trains.and it should make some trains for India also