Exclusive – Railroad.net Interviews Moving Platforms Guru – Paul Priestman

Every now and again, an idea comes around which can revolutionize an industry.  These ideas sometimes die right there – at the point of conception.  Other ideas get developed, but never make it to market.  Then, there are the ideas that do come to market – but never succeed.  And finally – there are the ideas which come to market, survive, withstand the test of time, and make a true impact.

Paul Priestman, the director at Priestmangoode, is behind an idea which we think could improve lives across the world – the idea is called Moving Platforms.

We asked Paul to explain what inspired his idea:

“I’ve never liked having to stop and change services when I travel. As you stand on the platform and you see where different trains might be able to take you, I always wonder why I can’t just go where I want to go, rather than where the boards are telling me I can go. I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I could get on any train and go where I want, without having to stop and change along the way’. Moving Platforms developed from there.

While other designers and engineers have come up with various concepts to enable high speed trains to run without stopping, that’s only part of the problem. I wanted to come up with a solution that would provide a totally integrated network that would enable a seamless passenger journey from home to destination.”

So, in a nutshell, Paul’s idea is for trains to connect to other trains via a Moving platform.  So, you could hop on a local train in your neighborhood – then head to the city to catch the high-speed train line which goes to other major cities.  And, you could do this without ever getting off of a train – as a moving platform would connect you from one train to another.  Here is a video which highlights the concept nicely:

This idea has spread like wildfire across the web.  We asked Paul how this idea has gotten so much press.

“We’re increasingly using social media and blogs to spread our ideas. We’ve found that when an idea has legs, the internet really enables it to reach far and wide. The response we’ve had from Moving Platforms has been incredible.”

We then asked how they plan to make money off of the idea.

“We’ve worked in the design and engineering industries for many years, so we know about the importance of doing that. For Moving Platforms, it’s important to remember that the idea was launched as a future concept to encourage discourse about the development of high speed rail projects around the world, rather than something to be implemented now, so details of monetizing on the idea would come much later down the line.”

We then wanted to get Paul’s thoughts on the Obama Administration’s high-speed plans.

“I think high speed rail projects are more than a good idea, they are necessary. If we want to reduce carbon emissions and are serious about the environment, it’s imperative to develop a more attractive rail offering and improved networks. High speed rail also carries great potential for economic growth, as seen in Japan with the Shinkansen and most recently in China. ”

Lastly, it was nice to hear Paul beaming about the future of the Railroad industry.

“I think any website focusing on railways should be applauded. The aviation industry may have taken over travel over the last fifty years, but trains are the transport of the future.”

So, what do you think about moving platforms – does the concept excite you?  Do you have any comments for Paul Priestman?  If you do – we’d be happy to pass them along…



Dave Geoffards December 20, 2011 at 6:34 pm

What an amazing idea. Thanks for sharing. Will this really happen one day?

JAirpane December 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm

~ I can’t wait for moving platforms!!!! This is brilliant, super exciting and very futuristic. Makes me look forward to traveling via railroad.~

Adirondacker December 20, 2011 at 7:24 pm

And when you come back from wherever the high speed train took you?
15 seconds to match speed, 15 seconds to dock, a minute to transfer passengers and then 15 seconds to undock… a train traveling at 60 – because the tram isn’t going to be able to go much faster than that – travels 1.75 miles. Longer because the tram need space to slow down to street speeds again.

ajaynejr December 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

The platform speed should probably be in the 20 to 25 MPH linear speed range, not 60 MPH.

The normal or default operation should be for the platform and docked train to gradually slow to a full stop. If the train completes disembarking and boarding and the moving platform is clear of people prior to reaching full stop, then the platform accelerates back to its 20-25 MPH linear speed and the train accelerates away.

Tom Schoonmaker December 22, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Why not try to adapt it to the movement of freight cars? …… Much more of a market with a greater impact on economics!

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