If you contrast it against a regular passenger train you will realize what a design feat the metro coach is. It is the result of an extremely demanding functional requirement cast in appropriate materials in a way that can only be described as stunning.
It’s been some time since the metro has been around in Kolkata and Delhi and recently in Bangalore.
Commuters now take this high quality commute for granted. But did you know, for instance, that a modern metro coach costs Rs. 8 crore on an average? Or for that matter, most new coaches for the major metro projects in India are manufactured indigenously?
What strikes most commuters is the highest level of functionality and the outstanding design of the coaches. The modern metro coach design stands tall on all parameters of design for public spaces.
Safety is the single most important parameter in the design. The bodywork has layers of materials which serve various functions from fireproofing to impact resistance, the final layer being aluminium or austenitic stainless steel. The coaches weigh about 50 tonnes and on an average weigh 75 tonnes when full. Weight reduction directly translates into a highly efficient and green form of urban transport.
One of the most significant aspects of designing for a system that involves such a high everyday use by common people is its maintainability. Apart form the functional, performance and safety aspects, maintainability gives the interiors a striking and distinct visual language of its own.
A very unique aspect of the overall system is its universal design. People who are physically challenged can use the metro in a way that does not need special arrangements. When you design for the elderly and the physically challenged, the product or the system becomes incredibly easy to use for everyone.
Roof and side panels cover the entire electricals. Illumination is flush with the ceiling.
Almost all joints are covered with stylistically integrated covers and that hide them and the floor is absolutely joint free.
Handles abound and the glass panels keep passengers from feeling claustrophobic.
The cantilevered feature of the seat design gives access to the floor cleaning equipment easily allowing it to reach every nook and cranny.
The coaches are air conditioned to maximize comfort while keeping the dust out.
Continuity and finishes for easy maintainability is one general underlying design theme that imparts a high tech aesthetic.