Seibu Railway is a Japanese conglomerate based in Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan. Its principal businesses are in railways, tourism, and real estate.
Its railway operations are in northwest Tokyo, and Saitama prefecture. The new trains are “reflective” rather than invisible and meant to blend in with the landscape.
Famous Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima has been hired to create the design. Her designs are known for her modernist elements. She uses clean, shiny surfaces, often of glass, marble, or metals.
She likes her buildings to have a fluid transition from interior to exteriors. In 2010, Sejima received the Pritzker Prize with Ryue Nishizawa who is Sejima’s partner in their firm.
The Pritzker prize is awarded to “architects whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” Sejima has never designed a train before.
Sejima is quoted as saying: “The limited express travels in a variety of different sceneries, from the mountains of Chichibu to the middle of Tokyo, and I thought it would be good if the train could gently co-exist with this variety of scenery.
I also would like it to be a limited express where large numbers of people can all relax in comfort, in their own way, like a living room, so that they think to themselves ‘I look forward to riding that train again.”
The exterior on the Red Arrow commuter train will be coated with semi-transparent and mirrored surfaces. Sejima claims the surfaces will be something never seen before now. The interior will feel like a living room so that passengers can relax while travelling.
The environmental impact of the train has not been discussed as yet. Seibu operates about 111 miles of tracks. The new train is to start with seven 8-car trains in 2018. The vehicles will be built by Hitachi Ltd. a company which builds Japan’s 200 mph. Shinkansen trains.