On the luxe track: French designer Thierry Gaugain unveils futuristic private train

The G Train will be sheathed in smartglass that can switch from opaque to transparent, presenting guests with changing panoramic views

Luxury train travel may have fallen out of fashion over the last few years, but French designer Thierry Gaugain is all about putting it back on the right track.

The designer, known for his futuristic creations, including Steve Jobs’ superyacht Venus and the Sailing Yacht A, is set to take travel by rail to a whole new level.

He recently unveiled the design concept for the G Train, touted as the world’s first private luxury train. Described as a “palace on rails”, the 400-metre-long train is made of 14 cars, and can run at 160 kilometres per hour, with four bespoke locomotives adapted to railways across the Americas and Europe, from Mediterranean shores up to Scandinavia and Russia.

The space is big enough to fit 18 overnight guests. There are two main sections: one for the owner’s accommodation and entertainment space, and the other for crew and guests’ quarters, including VIP suites and a VIP salon. For social events, there are al fresco terraces where parties can be held. The train even has a space to store cars, motorbikes and “other toys”.

However, it’s the new generation technical smartglass that sheaths the trains that is possibly its most unique feature. The gold-hued exterior of the train has the ability to switch between transparent and opaque.

Meanwhile, the glass walls will also allow for a change in the interiors. That means that guests wanting to see more of their surroundings can switch to a transparent mode “with the touch of a button”. Seven inner journey concepts can be created inside, for those looking for a change of scene without leaving the train.

While the train doesn't have an owner yet, it would have to be someone who can shell out $350 million, which is how much the project is likely to cost.

In an interview with CNN, Gaugain admitted that he did have someone in mind as the ideal client: Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Steve Jobs.

"The owner we envision is someone who is aware of the uniqueness of this train and understands that we are not just talking about transportation. It's about travel, not how fast you get from point A to point B."

"Travel is not about speed," he says. "It's about taking the time, because time is the only treasure we have."

Updated: July 18th 2021, 9:38 AM