A train in which seats are deflated in the rush hour to make more room for passengers to stand has been designed for Network Rail as a solution for overcrowding on busy commuter lines.
During the rush hour the new retractable seats could create as much as one and a half carriages of extra standing space on a four carriage train.
The ‘air train’ could be a reality by 2020, according to Arup, the design and engineering consultancy behind the project.
The space-saving design has been likened to a ‘bouncy castle’ by the designers, who say it will have 40 per cent more space for people than on current trains.
Blueprints for the trains have been entered into the Tomorrow’s Train Design Today competition and are being given serious consideration.