Eurostar unveils train design by Pininfarina
to celebrate 20th anniversary

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News: Eurostar has revealed a fleet of trains by Italian transport design studio Pininfarina that will serve a new range of European cities, marking the cross-channel rail service's 20th anniversary.

Eurostar redesign by Pininfarina

Rail company Eurostar unveiled the newly designed high-speed passenger train by Pininfarina at a press conference at St Pancras International station in London this morning.



Eurostar e320, named after its top speed of 320 kilometres-per-hour (200 miles-per-hour), will go into commercial service at the end of 2015 in time to operate on extended routes to Belgium and the Netherlands – due to commence a year later.

Eurostar redesign by Pininfarina
Photograph by Dan Howarth, copyright Dezeen

"The trains have a new livery, a fantastic interior, 20 per cent more seats and offer Wi-Fi across the train. We've also doubled the amount of seats for wheelchair users," said Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic, at St Pancras this morning.

Eurostar redesign by Pininfarina

Pininfarina, which has worked with car manufacturers Ferrari and Maserati, designed the train with reclining seats and increased luggage storage, plug sockets and mirrors in seat backs and touch sensitive light controls that "combine elegance with functionality" in Business Premier class.

Eurostar redesign by Pininfarina

"The brief was to have more seats, but at the same adding more comfort, which at the beginning seems to be a paradox," Pininfarina creative director Fabio Filippini told Dezeen.

"We tried to give overall a very coherent and cosy feeling through the train, independent of the class, to give more personal feeling to the space of the customers."

Eurostar redesign by Pininfarina
Photograph by Dan Howarth, copyright Dezeen

Thinner seats will offer passengers more leg room, while private booths with translucent glass screens will be available to business-class passengers.

In the buffet car, a curved white bar with rounded corners gives a "subtle sense of elegance" to the space.

"The combination of bold design, chic interiors and Wi-Fi connectivity will raise the bar, providing an unprecedented level of style and comfort for our customers," said Petrovic.

Eurostar redesign by Pininfarina
Photograph by Dan Howarth, copyright Dezeen

Free Wi-Fi will be available to all passengers, on which a new digital portal will provide information and entertainment including live news feeds, weather reports and Eurostar destination guides.

Pininfarina also added a range of grey and blue-toned seats to help "every customer feel their personal space."

"It's functional – you go to the toilet, you come back and you remember you're in this one, not the blue one," said Filippini.

Eurostar redesign by Pininfarina
Photograph by Dan Howarth, copyright Dezeen

The new fleet of 17 trains – seven more than are currently in circulation – will each be capable of carrying 900 passengers, boosting current capacity by 20 per cent.

Eurostar redesign by Pininfarina
Photograph by Dan Howarth, copyright Dezeen

Pininfarina, which recently launched a 1930s-style bicycle, is also refurbishing the existing train interiors by French designer Philippe Starck, so the designs match across the fleet.

Eurostar describes the trains as "inter-operable", with the ability to operate across the diverse Euorpean signalling systems, opening up the possibility to provide high-speed train services between the UK and other European city centre destinations.

Eurostar redesign by Pininfarina

Expanding on its current routes between the UK, Paris, Brussels, Lille, the French and Swiss Alps and Geneva, the new trains will operate a new year-round service to Provence, Lyon, Avignon and Marseille by May 2015.

Direct routes to Amsterdam with stops in Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol are set to start late 2016.

Eurostar also opened its new London ticket hall in July, designed by Christopher Jenner, who was appointed as the company's creative director last year.

Additional reporting by Dan Howarth.

  • Alun

    Is it just me that thinks this is nowhere near as nice as what exists already? The current interiors feel slightly luxurious, these look like a rural stopping service.

    • Nick Simpson

      Are we talking about the same Eurostar? The trains I’ve been on with them recently were awful. Dull, scruffy, with stained carpets and cheap chair covers.

      It’s such a disappointment as you board from the beautifully designed departure lounge at St Pancras.

      • Alun

        Yes, they are old but fundamentally good. A little dirt prepares you for Gare du Nord.

        • AndSOheSAID

          I agree. They might be grubby in places but in business class you always felt it was special. The “business class” on this new thing looks ANYTHING but business. At least no horrid Ryanair blue and yellow there but still…

        • Kalum

          Add a urine fragrance and you will be ready for Gare du Midi…

      • James

        The existing (circa 1993) fleet of Eurostar trains are to have a deep refurbishment in the coming years. First sets should be back in service from 2015.

      • Organe

        Adding the current interiors for comparison.

        I find those old ones iconic. Somehow the premium class felt like the trains belonged to Urbicande, the classic Belgian comics. Totally luxurious. Yes, they’re old – and have never been even refurbished in 20 years.

        The new ones feel like a let down. They’re bland. Still waiting to check materials and volumes in person for a final say.

  • James

    The interiors lack the carpeted classiness of the existing TGV-derived fleet. Lots of hard white surfaces, and firm looking skinny seats with plastic seat back shells.

    The days of a comfortable sprung seat on an international train are numbered.

  • AndSOheSAID

    So they paid “designers” to come up with this horrid Ryanair interior that already looks dated?! And a business class that looks about half a notch above what you get on a Thameslink train from the late 90s?! Dreadful. Utterly, utterly dreadful inside.

  • Peter van Beelen

    Oh my, Priestmangood have become oppressively lazy. Outside and in it is just more of the same. Shame.

    • Kevin Quigley

      This was designed by Pinninfarina, you know, that great Italian design company, not UK based Priestmangoode.

      I very much doubt Priestmangoode would have let something this bad get off the layout pad let alone on the tracks.

      If ever there is an example of an industry that the UK design sector excels in, compared to Italy at least, this is it.

  • Sherlock Holmes

    1. Already already at least twenty years old.

    2. Can anyone tell me why there are always these miserably looking barely filled remnants of cushions in these train interiors (e.g. ICE in Germany)?

    3. Can anyone tell me why train seats seem to look more and more like airplane seats, which are the synonym of uncomfortable and narrow spaced seating?

    Shouldn’t be train companies emphasise their advantage of not being so super dependent on lightweight material and space optimisation as opposed to planes?

  • Julie G

    Hideous, hideous, hideous. UPS brown and Marriott burgundy do not scream first class, and used together they say “Phone it in, boys; we won the bid, now let’s collect.”

    I swear to God I was on a 30-year-old Amtrak/Via Rail train last month (The Maple Leaf) that had that same colour story in business class, and the same dang blue shades in coach.

    Those pencil-sized ‘arm rests’ in Coach are the stuff fist fights are made of. And “thinner seats will offer passengers more leg room” doesn’t even make any sense.

    It’s whitewashing the real motivation, which is “thinner seats weigh less, increasing cost-efficiency, plus they’re WAY cheaper to make, so we don’t care how hard they are on your butt all day”.

    I’ll take my Amtrak Northeast Regional business class car over this uninspired manila folder of a train.

    I got so excited when I saw the headline, after all Italian design plus train (my favourite thing on earth) should equal a heaping pasta bowl of fabulousness.

    This is just a cold plate of meh.

  • DJ

    The first time I took Eurostar to Paris was the last time I took a plane. I don’t need airport aggro, when I can stroll into St Pancras.

    Over the years, I have found the service to be smooth, quiet, and comfortable. As for the interiors shown here, they aren’t exactly mould-breaking, but so long as I continue to have a comfy ride, I’m happy.

    However, I think that it’s time for the existing trains to have a refurb.

  • Fling

    I like the wrinkly underwear headrests.

  • A

    I’ve always found train interior design announcements to be a little misleading. For example, “Rail company Eurostar unveiled the newly designed high-speed passenger train by Pininfarina” doesn’t really acknowledge the fact that the actual train itself was designed and engineered by Siemens. Surely credits where credits are due?

  • NB2012

    How hideous. No style, what a wasted opportunity. While the current standard and business premier cars are in need of a refurbishment, they are at least comfortable and relaxing.

    The new premier seats look awful and the cabin is too bright. Burgundy carpet and fluorescent yellow trim? It would have been difficult to find a more ugly combination. Well done Eurostar!

  • Francis

    Just took a new e320 to Paris. Absolutely dreadful. Every aspect of the design is cheap. Bright white walls that are already dirty. Thin uncomfortable seats with lots of plastic. Too-bright lighting gives it a metro-like atmosphere.

    Rattling sounds everywhere. And most surprisingly, a really rough, bouncy ride. It’s like moving from a Volvo to a Skoda. It’s the new Ryanair of the rails. Oh, and wifi is only for business class.

    • Jérôme Mignot

      I used to travel back to Paris mostly every weekend from London. Friday evening last train, Monday morning first train. Basically, mostly everyone in the train sleeps because there’s nothing else to do other than saving sleep time. And this is what Eurostar means for frequent travellers. Save time. From economy to business class.

      What you just described seems that Eurostar is just trying to shaft its customers. Cheap design, money saved, sad travellers.

  • Lily

    I have to say that travelling on Eurostar’s new trains is a really unpleasant experience. Tinny, cheap and uncomfortable, as well as noisy – ugh!

    Bring back the old trains, please, and send these new horrors to the scrapyard.