SCHOTT solutions no. 1/2011 > Rail Traffic

A vision on the way to becoming a reality: Light is increasingly being understood as an instrument for providing orientation, creating moods and ensuring comfort, regardless of whether this is in designing restaurants in trains (above) or VIP seating solutions (see left below). Photo: SCHOTT/L. Zimmermann

Greater Appeal Thanks to Light

Intelligent lighting solutions in train compartments are paving the way for greater comfort – and luring air passengers to the tracks.

Thilo Horvatitsch

Tremendous speed wasn’t the only aspect of the record-break­ing trip of a Chinese passenger train (see also p. 8) at the end of 2010 that created the sensation of flying in a jet. Thanks to the personal reading lights attached to their seats, passengers in the vip class got to enjoy the same level of comfort that an airplane offers. ”We have already shipped over 2,000 LED reading lights for use in high-speed Chinese trains. The customer is very happy with the high quality and matching design, so the chances of us receiving more orders are pretty good,” says Dr. Armin Plichta, General Manager of Transportation at SCHOTT Lighting and Imaging. The example of seat lighting suggests that a new trend is emerging. More and more often, light is being looked at as an instrument that can offer orientation, create moods and ensure comfort, especially during long-distance trips. Here, the faster speed of an express train simply isn’t enough to convince discerning airline passengers to head for the tracks. Designers and manufacturers of train interiors are doing all that they can to keep up with the comfort standards that air travel passengers are accustomed to finding in many higher flight classes. The objective is to make train travel as comfortable an experience as possible, especially in the upper classes. But the challenge is also to meet a variety of different travel needs. Whereas business travelers often ask to sit in quiet zones that offer enough room to work and hold meetings in, First Class passengers often prefer a lounge or bar atmosphere. Customized lighting designs can help meet both demands rather effectively.

”We want our customers to be able to come up with high-quality design solutions in a quick and easy manner.”

Dr. Armin Plichta, General Manager Transportation SCHOTT Lighting and Imaging

Photo: SCHOTT/L. Zimmermann
But, technical lighting solutions are not only ideal for designing long-range travel scenarios. The use of high-quality materials in public transportation has also been shown to discourage vandalism. Lighting technology supports this effect too, because light has been shown to affect people’s behavior. SCHOTT offers a wide range of products for all of these applications – from functional lighting solutions for cabins and ceilings to emergency lighting via spotlights and seat lighting and contour, ambient and mood lighting. LED light sources are mainly used for this purpose, often in combination with fiber optic light conductors. These hybrid systems offer important advantages, especially for rail traffic. Separating the trans­mission of light from its source allows for flexible, space-saving installation, easy operation and requires less maintenance. The system also stands up well to vandalism attempts, vibrations, dirt, moisture and heat. And it is incredibly reliable because glass fibers do not transmit electricity. The long service lives and low power consumption that light diodes offer are yet other key advantages. A very thin LED plane light that glows in a homogeneous manner and is designed for integration into walls and cover panels is just one of the new products for use in rail travel that is already in high demand. This ultra-flat LED panel is only six millimeters thick, can be used in curved applications and is particularly well-suited for double-decker trains with limited clearance. ”In living up to our motto ’Design and Simplicity’, we want our customers to be able to come up with high-quality design solutions in a quick and easy manner,” Armin Plichta emphasizes. <|