Earlier this week JR East announced (PDF) a new luxury sleeper train, the “cruise train,” that will begin carrying passengers across Japan as early as Spring of 2017. The major railway company is spending 5 billion yen (about $50 million) to create the train, which will feature an adaptable EDC system, allowing it to run on both electric and non-electric rails. Along with the announcement came images, which revealed a luxurious interior that, if you’ve ever been to Japan, looks nothing like common trains. The only thing that comes close is the designer trains of Kyushu. For more on that you’ll want to read how privatization spawned a designer train movement.
Spearheading the design of the train is Ken Okuyama, a legendary automobile designer who supervised the design of several Ferraris in the mid-2000s. Okuyama’s background helps to explain the luxurious cars characterized by large glass-paneled windows and high ceilings.
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But don’t get your hopes up too much. These luxurious sleeper trains seem to be quite exclusive, as they only have a max capacity of 34 passengers. We’ve still got 3 more years before we’ll find out how much it will cost to board these cars which, in the words of the designer, “lets passengers enjoy the flow of time and space.”