Feature, Hospitality/Leisure

How safety laws nearly derailed luxury train’s lighting

The Belmond Grand Hibernian Train, operated by the company behind the Orient Express, functions as a five-star hotel on rails – and the lighting had to reflect that.

TOUGH RAILWAY safety regulations threw up serious technical challenges that could have compromised a lighting designer’s concept for a luxury train touring Ireland’s countryside.

The Belmond Grand Hibernian Train, operated by the company behind the Orient Express, functions as a five-star hotel on rails – and the lighting had to reflect that.

But limited power and uncompromising rules meant Tony Rimmer of Studio-29 – the lighting consultant appointed by the train’s architects JPA – had a major challenge on his hands.

Crescent Lighting supplied all the LED fittings for ceiling coves and wardrobes, which was specified to be covered with Ecorail sheet by BWF profiles to comply with train standards.

The Belmond Grand Hibernian is comprised of five sleeping carriages housing twenty en-suite cabins, two dining cars, one observation car and two service cars for kitchens, storage and staff quarters. Each car is named and styled after a county in Ireland.

The greatest challenge lighting a prestige train was an electrical load allowance of only 450W to 630W per carriage for all the lighting in the cars, excluding technical and galley areas.

To achieve these figures and maintain superior aesthetics only LED fittings with minimal output could be used.

‘Using energy saving LED fittings and clever design allowed us to provide not only functional lighting but also a wide range of decorative fittings such as picture lights, shelf lighting and ceiling cove lighting in all corridors, restaurant and observation cars’, says Rimmer.

‘In addition we managed to accommodate reading lights, table lamps, wardrobe lights in all cabins and low level corridor and wayfinding lights. This is probably first and only luxury train designed with exclusively LED operated lighting’.

The Studio-29 team, Tony Rimmer and Elena Krylova, had to come up with light fittings which comply with the technical requirements of the rail company but which are also highly decorative and appropriate for luxurious specification of the Belmond Grand Hibernian Train.

‘To achieve the right aesthetic results we designed a clever specification limiting the use of specialised train downlights and almost all other light fittings were custom made decorative fittings.

The bar area in the observation car. The lighting had to complement the luxurious interior without compromising on safety.

‘These decorative fittings were custom designed with smaller dimensions to suit the requirements of the train.’

The fittings could only accommodate a custom-made, warm dim, 24V LED lamp with an screw-in E14 base. This lamp was not available on the market and had to be designed and manufactured specifically to comply for the use on train.

The lighting layout for the train carriages. As well as decorative and cove lighting, the designers managed to accommodate reading lights, table lamps, wardrobe lights in all cabins and low level corridor and wayfinding lights.

Manufacturer Original BTC had to reproduce the desired look of six different types of fitting as well as adopting the technical requirements and a specific voltage of 24V.

All sharp details to be avoided on custom made decorative fittings to prevent injury during a collision, and special neoprene rings and gaskets were added to minimise the vibration of the train.
Additionally, any inflammable materials or those that can melt easily had to be eliminated.
To comply with train requirements all linear LED fittings in ceiling coves had to be located within a metal housing which was covered with a special flame- and melt-resistant material, which was designed specifically for the use on trains.

The same cover was specified for the wardrobe rail-light fittings on all wardrobe cabins. Other linear LED used for shelf lighting and wardrobes were issued with a fire-rated certification to comply with technical requirements.

All decorative custom made fittings including wall and celling lights, table lamps, reading lights and picture lights were manufactured by Original BTC. LPA Group was used for all downlights as they are a specialist manufacturer for automotive and transportation.

Crescent Lighting supplied all the LED fittings for ceiling coves and wardrobes, which was specified to be covered with Ecorail sheet by BWF profiles to comply with train standards.
Low level corridor lighting and wayfinding was supplied by Savage Lighting which specialises in marine lighting. The joinery lighting used in dining cars is by KKDC. GDS designed a special 24V custom made warm dim lamp with E14 base for all decorative fittings.

The Belmond Grand Hibernian operates a number of tours of Ireland, visiting Belfast, Wexford and Waterford. A week’s holiday on board costs €9,910.

The lighting of the Belmond Grand Hibernian Train has now been shortlisted for a 2018 Lux Award in the Hospitality, Leisure and Faith Project category of the Year. The winners will be announced during the presentations ceremony on Thursday 15 November 2018 in the InterContinental at the O2 in London.

The dining car. The fittings could only accommodate a custom-made, warm dim, 24V LED lamp with an screw-in E14 base. This lamp was not available on the market and had to be designed and manufactured specifically to comply for the use on train.
The observation car. As well getting the lighting compliant, the operators, Belmond, had to persuade rail authorities in Ireland that moveable furniture was safe in a moving train. Its speed is limited to 75 miles an hour.
One of the bedrooms. The greatest challenge to lighting the train was an electrical load allowance of only 450W to 630W per carriage for the lighting.

 

  • The Lighting for Retail and Hospitality Conference takes place on Wednesday 14 November 2018 at the LuxLive 2018 exhibition at ExCeL London. The show itself takes place on Wednesday 14 November and Thursday 15 November 2018. See the full programme HERE.

 

 

  • A table at the 2018 Lux Awards rewards clients, potential customers, employees and suppliers with an unforgettable evening and creates that all-important emotional connection to your brand. The glamorous evening includes a glittering drinks reception in the dramatic River Suite at the InterContinental O2, the presentation ceremony, gala dinner and finally the rocking after-party. See more information HERE.