Interview about 2022 DIA Award-winning Works | Lijiang Sightseeing Tram: The special culture train to Jade Dragon Snow Mountain

When you arrive in Lijiang, a famous tourist city, you may wish to take a special tourist train connecting Old Town of Lijiang and the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain. Along the way, you will see Baisha Ancient Town, which is the origin of the "Mu Family" regime of the Naxi chieftain in Lijiang, and experience the former political, economic, commercial and cultural center of Lijiang; You will enjoy the Yushui Village and Dongba Valley, which retain the traditional simple and unsophisticated style of Naxi nationality, and have a taste of the Dongba Culture; You can stop at Ganhaizi, the nearest and best place to get the whole picture of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, and enjoy the scenery of natural meadow pasture……

Open a "fast lane" for the famous tourist city

As the only prefecture-level city with three world heritages, Lijiang has no special train for sightseeing. Travelers usually take tourist buses when going to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Old Town of Lijiang. But they have the disadvantages of limited transport capacity and poor sightseeing experience, and the safety of bus tour remains to be improved. Therefore, the introduction of sightseeing rail transit in Lijiang is an inevitable trend to improve the tourism quality of scenic spots and strengthen regional economic development.


As the world's leading rail transit enterprise, CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., Ltd. accepted this challenge. They independently developed and designed the Lijiang Sightseeing Tram, and provided a fashionable appearance to the product, and brought performance leading the development of the industry in terms of new technology application, user experience and cultural empowerment, and this work has been awarded the 2022 DIA Bronze Award in the Product Group.



LiJiang Sightseeing Tram

2022 DIA Bronze Award in the Product Group

Owner: CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., Ltd.

Designer: CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., Ltd.

Design team: Li Pengfei, Zhang Ruoxi, Wang Xiangyi, Liu Xiaofeng, Zhong Fei

Adapt to local conditions: harmonious coexistence with nature

This tram is different from the general tourist trains. The environment it passes through is complex, with strong ultraviolet rays, high altitude and large span. More importantly, the tram should not do harm to the ecology of the snow-capped mountains, and the design should reflect Lijiang’s characteristics in combination with the environment, so the project is extremely challenging.


The challenges faced by the R&D team are that the car body structure needs to be updated innovatively, the internal layout needs to be redesigned, and some systems need be adjusted for adaptation. Insulating glass is used in the side windows of conventional urban rail vehicles. When operating on the plateau for a long time, the internal air pressure difference will cause the glass to break and the glue layer to fail. However, the new type of electric adjustable color-changing glass with large curved surface has not been widely used in rail transit projects, which leads to doubts in verification and great technical difficulties.


Relying on their technical accumulation in rail transit in the early stage, the design team boldly imagined and carefully verified their design scheme, and had carried out the research and development and trial production process for nearly two years, and broken through the siege of conventional urban rail design: First, in the self-developed new frame-type car body structure, a large portion of the side walls of the car body is removed to provide a 120-150° super-large sightseeing view, which can improve the utilization rate of the tram space and maximizing the visual experience of passengers in the tram car. Secondly, the full-power articulated bogie is adopted for the first time, which can ensure the safe operation of the tram in case of continuous uphill and continuous downhill, and solves the problems of continuous 7km ramp, maximum slope of 60‰ and large station spacing. Thirdly, with the structure of large curved electric switchable glass and double-layer laminated glass, and the suspended particle (spd)/LV nano light valve dimming technology, the light and shade of the glass can be adjusted according to the solar intensity so as to adapt to the environmental characteristics of sufficient sunlight and strong ultraviolet rays in Lijiang. Passengers can enjoy the scenery along the way from all angles, and the strong light will not stimulate the line of sight and affect the sightseeing experience.


The tram is scenery: the tram and culture enhance each other's beauty

Lijiang Sightseeing Tram will become a city card, a cultural exhibition hall and a scenic corridor. The tram is built based on Lijiang's national culture and art as its design aesthetics, reflecting the beauty of Lijiang, that is, "the scenery of the sky", "the land of the sky" and "the mirror of the sky", forming the artistic conception of mountains in the lake, clouds in the water and lakes in the heart of heaven, which is pure and ethereal.


The appearance color of the tram is inspired by the Blue Moon Lake, which is not in the mainstream color card RAL or PANTONE. The color is chosen by the design team independently through color matching and proofing. After 8 calibrations, the appearance perfectly reproduces the dreamy color of the Blue Moon Lake in the most beautiful sunshine. As Bai Juyi, an ancient Chinese poet wrote, "Spring arrives and river's green turns blue", surrounded by snow-capped mountains and green trees, and under the bright sunshine, the tram shines like a sapphire and a moving "Blue Moon Lake".


The interior design of the tram incorporates the elements of Dongba Culture and Naxi Art; With the white of Baishui River, the blue of the Blue Moon Valley and the representative colors of local Naxi nationality as the main colors, and traditional handicrafts as the main elements, the team designs three themes of luxury, nature and nationality, and created the concept of "culture+", adding value to transportation, realized culture + transportation and culture + tourism, promoted the deep integration and development of culture and tourism, and improved tourists' satisfaction and happiness.



Design Collaboration: Serve the people with design


American design theorist Victor Papanek mentioned in his book Design for the Real World: "Design should serve the people". There is never the best design, only the most suitable design.


The team members of Lijiang Sightseeing Tram went deep into Lijiang to study Lijiang from the aspects of "people, culture, geography, industry and scenery", striving to integrate the tram into local culture and natural environment; With the goal of creating "another beautiful scenery and an internet-famous site in Lijiang”, they want to convey the values of local culture, enrich the impression of Lijiang, and let passengers experience the scenery, national characteristics and cultural charm of Lijiang from industrial design.


One station one sight. When you take this sightseeing tram with beautiful design, strong comfort and good experience, and pass through the ancient town, the meadows and the snow-capped mountains, the dreamland picture of “traveling in a pictorial world” is truly realized. As the world's first sightseeing mountain train independently developed by China, its industrial design concept interprets the collision between traditional culture and technology, provides a demonstration model for the revitalization of China's manufacturing industry, and will empower the high-quality upgrading of traditional rail transit products.


Material provider | CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co., Ltd.

Editor  | Wu Zhiwen

Executive Editor  | Fan Fei

Reviewer  | Yang Duoying

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