Railways Get 21st Century Update: From London to Los Angeles

Great public infrastructure dramatically boosts the quality of city life. Wherever space is cramped and parking is limited, public transportation, such as a subway or railway, is a viable alternative to getting around the town.

In the 19th century, London knew that investing in public transportation would be a great benefit to the citizens. In 1863, the city became home to the world’s first underground railway. The earliest trains used cars attached to steam locomotives. Despite their primitive looks, they served more than 38,000 commuters on the first day and 9 million throughout their first year in operation.

Taken from Telegraph.co.uk, source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

1863: A lithograph of a steam engine on the Metropolitan line

As time went on, the railroad companies in London began to consolidate as they expanded commuter lines throughout the country. By the turn of the 20th century, London began to see the development of the Underground “tube” which would use electrified cars as opposed to steam locomotives.

taken from telegraph.co.uk; source: Topical Press Agency, Getty Images

1900: An early underground train

After being in service for more than 150 years, the Underground has commissioned PriestmanGoode to design the New Tube trains for London. The updated design implements digital screens to display live updates, air-cooled cars, a walk-through design and overall increased capacity. It is expected to cut down on travel times while being easy to maintain as well.

NTfL Exterior Tunnel_021014

NTfL Interior 02_021014

The trains themselves use a palette of charcoal, warm grey and to give it a futuristic look, while giving a nod to the rich heritage of London with an oxblood exterior.
Paul Priestman, Director at PriestmanGoode extols, “Good design isn’t just about style, it’s about making something better and easier to run and maintain.”
To see more of their designs from transportation to hotels head to their website.

The new civic plaza imagined in front of the existing building

Los Angeles’ Union Station is also due for an update. Having celebrated its 75th anniversary in May, a master plan by local firm Gruen Associates and London’s Grimshaw Architects imagines a modernized Union Station. The updates will include a new civic plaza at the front of the existing building and a new concourse hall with a subterranean open-air courtyard. Source

taken from LAtimes.com

A rendering of the new subterranean courtyard

The new plan reflects the revitalization of Los Angeles’ public transport system. Along with the Union Station update, the Metro system recently broke ground on a new station in Little Tokyo which will allow passengers to travel from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica on one train. These renovations to L.A.’s ailing public infrastructure hopes to make the Metro system a viable alternative to driving around the traffic jammed streets and highways.

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