Strategic rolling stock design partnership


The brief

Since 2016 tangerine has been in a strategic design partnership with Chinese train maker CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd (CRC), a division of the world’s largest rolling stock manufacturer CRRC Corporation Limited. The partnership was won as part of a competitive selection process involving a number of top design studios from all over the world.

CRC ‘s aim for the partnership has been to raise the design quality of all of their passenger cars, which includes high speed train, maglev train, metro and light rail, in order to win more customers, both domestically in China as well as internationally.

Since the start of the partnership, eighteen different rolling stock vehicles have been designed by tangerine for CRC, including some of China’s highest-profile trains with the most advanced rail vehicle technologies.

CRC Changchun High Speed Sleeper EMU train_tangerine
CRC Changchun High-Speed Sleeper EMU train with double-decker suites.
CRC Changchun HS Sleeper EMU suite_tangerine
Standard class sleeping suite created by CRC Changchun and tangerine for China’s high-speed network.

Key insights

As part of a collaborative process to design new trains, CRC Changchun wanted to extend, develop and enhance its internal design capabilities through project-based knowledge and skills sharing with tangerine’s creative team To accommodate this ambition, members of tangerine’s studio, a mixture of Chinese speakers and European staff, have been taking part in an exchange programme with CRC’s manufacturing hub in Changchun in Northern China, relocating there for a period of three weeks at a time. Based in CRC’s offices, tangerine’s team work side-by-side with CRC’s engineers as part of an immersive design process to exchange ideas, better understand technical constraints and to share skills and expertise.  Co-working in this way, the teams are able to problem-solve together, so that the right design solutions are being developed to meet both the ambitions of CRC Changchun’s clients and the end-user passengers, while also being highly practical for CRC’s manufacturing processes.  

An interior design concept for Xi’an Metro. The tangerine designed CRC Changchun train went into service in 2019.

tangerine often joins CRC during their client presentation process, helping the company to win pitches for new contracts; and senior members of tangerine’s design leadership team regularly give talks and hold workshops with CRC’s senior management to help them to better utilise innovation, strategy and design more effectively within their organisation. 

Qinyuan tourist train design_CRC_tangerine
Exterior design and livery created by tangerine for the Qinyuan touristic maglev train.
Train interior design with castellation themed shapes to represent the famous theme park visited by the Qinyuan touristic train.

The solution

This strategic partnership encompasses the design of over six train projects a year, covering a mixture of the interior passenger car design and the exterior nosecone and livery design.  Since the start of the strategic partnership tangerine has completed the design of many different train types including High Speed, Maglev, Sleeper, Touristic, Double-decker and Metro. 

Included in this case study are just a selection of completed projects which have successfully launched, helping to fulfil CRC’s ambitions of raising the quality of its design execution on the international stage 

More recently tangerine and CRC Changchun have completed a Double Decker Sleeper EMU train which will offer affordablestandard class sleeper train travel all across China’s extensive high-speed rail network, which is the biggest in the world. With this important contribution to China’s domestic infrastructure, tangerine and CRC are contributing to greener alternatives for China’s burgeoning demand for fast domestic transportation 

We look forward to revealing more of the exciting work that has resulted from the collaboration between tangerine and CRC  in the near future, including a high-profile high-speed train of international importance launching in 2022 and an R&D project for super high speed maglev trains. 

Tram concept created by tangerine for one of CRC Changchun’s international contract bids.

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