US Rail system revival by Teague

Fueled by current US government grants in excess of $350 million, Teague has been busy thinking about US rail systems for the next generation. This “roam America” theme focuses on family travel with children. They build their thesis off the Covid phenomena and a decline in drivers license applications among others. Although the color palette and space designations hit the mark, I see a short coming in this approach that is limited to the month of August summer family vacation. Is there something substantive here that points to the future. Share and comment if you like.

This has all the feel of a side project, done to fill in some down-time and detached from any of the brutal realities that underpin US rail networks.

Looks nice, but it’s vacuous fluff that isn’t doing Teague any favors.

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I think it seemed to get them a lot of press which is what I’m sure it was designed to do, so it seemed it did do them some favors… I think it is pretty clear it is a side conceptual project. Seems like a nice way to stretch out an explore outside of the parameters of their typical projects, especially since a lot of their projects are long term transportation programs that are highly constrained.

Seems pretty far from vacuous fluff… looks like a lot of work actually…


I had similar thoughts, but in the opposite direction, if we as designers can paint a beautiful picture of “what could be” that gets potential stakeholders excited prior to all the real world project requirements (something that Teague, a company that’s partnered closely with Boeing for the better part of a century is all too good at!) then we might allow the project to question some the traditional assumptions of what a project (or an industry) could look like. If you’re truly familiar with Teague, you don’t question their ability to deliver to incredibly rigorous project / industry requirements. This shows that while they work in those areas all the time, they haven’t forgot to dream, and are hopefully making room for all of us to dream bigger.

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Yes, I get the ‘vision’ idea. To inspire, fuel aspiration and ask “what if?…” etc.

I’m sorry, some baggage here: I’ve worked on rail programs in Europe and US- where the FRA/Operator/Manufacturer Venn diagram is a nightmare of regulatory, operational and manufacturer challenges. Yes, Teague creates some lovely thoughtful work, and clearly, a lot of man-hours went into this, but to get real traction with stakeholders it may need a bit more than polished renders of rail car interiors.

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Your response (from experience) is exactly how I frequently feel about furniture concepts, thankfully, some distance and time from contract furniture has allowed me to be a little less dismissive of ideas that might not be fully baked, and see them as a new, and maybe seemingly off-topic, conversation beginning rather than a reply to the same questions that has been being addressed for decades. I hear you, but we’re not all as aware of the regulatory and category nuance, and I really hope ideas like this could make just a little room to reevaluate some of the old assumptions if and when the US can finally TRY to make some headway in commuter rail.

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Same thing happens for me with footwear concepts. I see some of this crazy stuff and I immediately think: how would this affect someone’s gate? How would that giant part with 30 undercuts come out of a mold? What clothes could you even wear that with?

But like @IDiot said I’ve learned to just lay back and appreciate them as explorations that can maybe point toward something, a general gestalt.

@FluffyData i appreciate you weighing back in an explaining your experience. Knowing that context makes the conversation way more interesting.