PriestmanGoode designed the interiors for VIA Rail Canada’s new Corridor fleet setting a new standard in passenger rail experience that’s unparalleled, fully accessible and barrier-free. The project also encompassed the livery design for the new fleet and the distinctive nose detail of the locomotives.
VIA Rail’s Fleet Replacement Program is a pillar of the operator’s modernisation plan which will redefine how Canadians travel and create the VIA Rail of tomorrow. The new fleet will serve the Québec City – Windsor corridor.
Our challenge was to deliver a design that represents a new icon for transportation in Canada – and one the rest of the world will envy. The new interiors, as well as the livery and nose design – all acknowledge the unique role that transport design can play as an emblem of a city or country.
VIA Rail’s train of tomorrow offers passengers an enhanced onboard experience in terms of accessibility, comfort, and personal space. An optimal interior environment and configuration, together with a colour palette, materials, and finishes support the service reputation that VIA Rail Canada is known for.
Particular attention was paid to the selection of durable materials to ensure the interiors are built with longevity in mind, contributing to VIA Rail’s sustainability commitment.
PriestmanGoode also designed the new livery for the fleet, featuring Canada’s iconic Maple Leaf and draws upon Canada’s rich history of bold graphic design and carries that heritage forward. The new livery is the embodiment of VIA Rail’s vision to be the smarter way to travel. From the front locomotive to the back, the livery sees the dynamic and seamless application of VIA Rail’s colour palette and placement of the logo. Each feature ensures a memorable first and last impression of a journey for VIA Rail passengers.
A further design feature of each locomotive is the distinctive nose detail, created by the industrial design team at PriestmanGoode which adds visual impact as the new train sets arrive at stations against the dramatic Canadian landscapes.
During the project, PG’s Visualisation team created a range of assets to help VIA Rail employees engage in the early development phases and support the launch.
Accessibility: The design and introduction of a new fleet provided the opportunity to ensure an experience that is equal for all. The cars offer a barrier-free and fully accessible travel experience with, amongst others, onboard wheelchair lifts, five Mobility Aid Spaces (MAS) per trainset, large accessible washrooms, braille, and embossed signage.
Galley/Kitchens: All galleys are built around the needs of the crew with open areas and full size, branded galley carts. These will enable VIA Rail to offer meal services and self-service refreshment areas appropriate to the distances covered by the fleet.
Lavatories: All include high-quality finishes, with decorative foils that depict the Canadian landscape in a modern, graphical form. Touches of Canadian maple ensure that natural materials are represented within the interiors and sit alongside branded panels.
Seats: The train sets include two classes: Business and Economy. The seats in each were developed from ground up for this fleet and offer superior levels of comfort and personal space, with headrests, armrests, and coat hooks. All seats have access to tables and charge points to enable work or support personal devices. The Business Class seats include a credenza between seats to add more definition around personal space. The materials in neutral to mid-greys sit in a bright cabin environment with hints of warm Canadian maple.
As a new feature for Business Class cabins on the new trainsets include pods with raised partitions to create privacy and a dedicated place to work efficiently on board.
Storage: is a recurrent feature throughout the cars, with flexible, convenient spaces to store bikes, luggage, and outer clothing.
Sustainability: was a key requirement of the design brief and the interiors feature water refill points to help eliminate single-use plastic water bottles. Materials, especially in high-touch areas, were selected for durability to withstand wear-and-tear and the variation in climatic conditions – and ensure that items provide longevity in service.
“Working with PriestmanGoode we incorporated unparalleled accessibility features in the Corridor fleet including multiple mobility aid spaces, onboard wheelchair lifts, enhanced signage, and communications capabilities. VIA Rail’s customers will enjoy bespoke seats, available privacy pods, modern lighting, and a host of features to make their travel more comfortable and productive while enjoying the stunning Canadian scenery only train travel can provide. “
Cynthia Garneau, President and CEO of VIA Rail Canada
RedCabin Rail Interiors Awards 2023 – Rail Cabin of the Year