News & Reviews News Wire California offers first look at possible high speed rail interiors (updated)

California offers first look at possible high speed rail interiors (updated)

By Trains Staff | January 25, 2024

| Last updated on January 26, 2024

Renderings offer several options; photos show mock-up

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Seat with wrap-around pad next to window
A rendering of possible premium seating on a California high speed train. California High-Speed Rail Authority

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Premium seating with “cocoons,” as well as pods that wouldn’t be out of place in first-class on a long-distance flight. Play areas with a beach décor. And at least two concepts — “comfort” or “flex” — for conventional seating.

All are contained in a series of renderings released this week by the California High-Speed Rail Authority for potential interiors for the first trainsets for the system under construction in the state’s Central Valley — as well as photos of a physical mock-up where some of the ideas are being developed.

The images were added to the authority’s website without any accompanying comment, quite likely because there is a long process to be navigated from these initial concepts to the actual trains to be built by either Siemens or Alstom [see “Alstom, Siemens named as potential suppliers …,” Trains News Wire, Jan. 6, 2024]. But the “cocoon” seats appear to have pull-down curtains  that would allow passengers privacy from those passing in the aisle, while the other premium seating style is more open but still offers enhance privacy.

Seat in individual walled compartment
A “cocoon” seating concept. California High-Speed Rail Authority

Here are some additional renderings.

Sets of three seats facing a table
Flex seating, with three seats to one side of the aisle. California High-Speed Rail Authority
Two-by-two seating facing a table
Two-across “comfort” seating. California High-Speed Rail Authority
Play area with design based on lifeguard tower at beach
The “family area” has a beach theme featuring details inspired by lifeguard towers. California High-Speed Rail Authority

The authority also released photos of a mock-up being used to develop the interior concepts. The Sacramento Bee reports the mock-up is on display at Cal Expo, home of California’s state fair, and will be displayed at the fair this summer. It was unveiled to reporters earlier this week.

Mock-up of train interior inside building
A mock-up, dubbed the “white mock-up,” being used to develop interior concepts. California High-Speed Rail Authority
Detail of mock-up interior
A detail of white mock-up seating. California High-Speed Rail Authority

— Updated Jan. 26 at 8:15 a.m. with additional information on mock-up.

9 thoughts on “California offers first look at possible high speed rail interiors (updated)

  1. I guess Brightline West was getting too much press, so CalHSR had to get something out to prove they are still doing something.

  2. Conventional seats (with plenty of legroom) in Amfleet led to sold-out Metroliners.

    Everything loops at Sunnyside and WAS has a wye. No need for facing seats.

  3. Three abreast? Seriously? And are they going to make half of the passengers face backwards like Amtrak is going to do? Time will tell.

  4. Amateur hour at CalHSR. Tables as shown in some of the mockups are aimed squarely at one’s lower torso in a crash. Will slice the passenger in two.

    1. Thanks! Remind me never to ride the CalHSR given this obvious safety issue. Then again, it likely won’t be up and running in my lifetime …..

    2. It’s been “amateur hour” at CAHSR ever since the Obama people started throwing $$$ at it.

    3. You mean the exact same level that tables are in Amtrak cars? I don’t remember hearing about anyone getting sliced in half in any Amtrak accident, nor any of the few High Speed accidents around the world. Charles worries to much.

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