Design Solves Everything: Reversible Train Seats

Post by Nick Chu

Recently an incredibly intelligent individual casually said a few words to me during a meeting: “Design solves everything”. 

Strangely enough, I never thought about design in such an overtly simple manner.

And by pure coincidence, a few days later I found an awesome example of this phrase in action that I just had to share — the reversible train seat on Sydney Trains.

Now I’ve seen a few “traditional” reversible train seats but those are much more cumbersome to use. However with this design, travellers will no longer suffer from “backwards riding” motion sickness.

Why this seating arrangement has not been built into all trains by now is honestly a complete mystery to me. Or could it be that this is just another fine example of the old saying, “we don’t know what we don’t know“.


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  1. That's awesome! It also keeps you from using the dreaded sideways facing seat and trying to pretend that you're not staring at the person across from you. Nice cameo from Steven too.
  2. Re sideway seating looking into person across from you: i hate this! but admittedly smart phones have partially solved this. ;)
  3. FYI: they had reversible for a long time in Sydney then dropped the on the "Tangara" sets introduced about 20 years ago. There was such an outcry they brought them back on the "Millenium" trains shown.
  4. Italy ETR450, the first high-speed tilting train in commercial service had reversible seats too.
  5. @ GiorgioXT and Tim: Perhaps this just goes to show you how backwards (no pun intended) our train seat designers are in North America.