Steve Jobs' yacht designer has created the world's first private luxury train that could cost more than $300 million - see inside

·6 min read
a rendering of the black G Train going through the desert
A rendering of the G Train in the desert. Thierry Gaugain
  • French designer Thierry Gaugain has designed what he calls the "world's first private luxury train."

  • The "palace on rails" is covered in smart glass and could cost over $300 million to build.

  • Gaugain previously designed Apple cofounder and former CEO Steve Jobs' 260-foot yacht Venus.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

We've all heard of private yachts and private jets. But now the French designer Thierry Gaugain has designed what he calls the "world's first private luxury train."

a rendering of the black G Train going through the desert
A rendering of the G Train in the desert. Thierry Gaugain

Gaugain is a prolific designer who has worked across multiple fields, designing furniture, glasses, motorbikes, and private planes.

a close up of Thierry Gaugain
Thierry Gaugain. Thierry Gaugain

Gaugain has also designed yachts and helped create Apple cofounder and former CEO Steve Jobs' 260-foot yacht Venus.

rendering of the side view of the G Train with glass walls
A rendering of the side view of the G Train. Thierry Gaugain

But now, for the first time, Gaugain has decided to create a design for a private luxury train, in part because "everyone loved trains in their childhood," he told Insider. "It's an old dream coming through," he added.

rendering of the G Train running near a river
A rendering of the G Train running near a river. Thierry Gaugain

Yes, he could have designed an Amtrak train or a passenger train. But why do that when you can create the "ultimate way to travel" in luxury.

rendering of the G Train as it glows gold
A rendering of the G Train. Thierry Gaugain

We all know the expression "it's about the journey, not the destination." Well, that was the intention of the G Train.

rendering of the side view of the G Train with glass walls
A rendering of the side view of the G Train. Thierry Gaugain

"During my years of working on travel concepts, I fine-tuned all the ideas of journeys, how to move, and how to discover the world," Gaugain said. "It appeared to me that a train for a one unique owner, [like] a yacht, was a very good way to reinvent the idea of journey."

rendering of a party happening on the G Train's terrace as the train glows gold
A rendering of a party happening on the G Train's terrace. Thierry Gaugain

Like other methods of transportation Gaugain has designed, the G Train was created to be a place to live. This was done by integrating technology, art, and light: "This train is meant to be a stage changing all the time by mechanical or digital means," he said.

a rendering of the G Train's partially transparent golden window
A rendering of the G Train's window. Thierry Gaugain

It's not a hotel on wheels - it's a "palace on rails," Gaugain said.

a rendering of the G Train's garden with orange trees surrounding seating
A rendering of the G Train's garden. Thierry Gaugain

"Our aim for this G Train is to design a palace on rails that could look like a snake under the sun or a night bird," he said.

rendering of the front of the G Train as it reflects gold
A rendering of the front of the G Train. Thierry Gaugain

Now let's take a peek around the 14-car, 1,312-foot-long train.

rendering of a party happening on the G Train's terrace as the train glows gold
A rendering of a party on the G Train's terrace. Thierry Gaugain

Gaugain imagines an owner of this train would be someone who is "certainly exceptional, maybe someone looking for a new chapter of his life."

A rendering of the G Train's gold window frames with its terrace wings popping up
A rendering of the G Train's terrace wings. Thierry Gaugain

According to the designer, everyone involved in the project - from himself to Swiss train builders and French glass makers - worked for several years to "ensure the feasibility" of the G Train.

a rendering of the G Train's terrace looking out into the landscape
A rendering of the G Train's terrace. Thierry Gaugain

The G Train could hit almost 99 mph and operate on railways in places like the US, Europe, and Russia.

rendering of the G Train running near a river
A rendering of the G Train running near a river. Thierry Gaugain

The train's owner could host family gatherings, business partners, and partygoers.

rendering of a party happening on the G Train's terrace as the train glows gold
A rendering of a party happening on the G Train's terrace. Thierry Gaugain

One of the most noticeable features of the train concept is its smart-glass covering, which could switch from totally transparent to a gold-toned opacity with a push of a button.

rendering of the G Train's bathtub with a giant moon behind it
A rendering of the G Train's bathtub. Thierry Gaugain

Creating a glass-encased train - we're talking almost 37,674 square feet of glass - would allow the train's owner to bring the outdoors into the train.

a rendering of the G Train's partially transparent golden window
A rendering of the G Train's window. Thierry Gaugain

So light plays a central role in the design of the train. Natural light through the glass walls and digital lighting systems help set the mood on board.

a rendering of golden specks that outline the G-Train as it operates in a snowy area
A rendering of the G Train operating in a snowy area. Thierry Gaugain

The G Train's 14 cars would have a variety of rooms and uses, from bedroom suites to a garden and an art gallery.

a rendering of the G Train's terrace looking out into the landscape
A rendering of the G Train's terrace. Thierry Gaugain

There would even be enough room to accommodate 18 overnight guests - not including any of the crew - in the VIP suites.

a rendering of the G Train's terrace looking out into the landscape
A rendering of the G Train's terrace. Thierry Gaugain

The owner's sleeping quarters and living room cars would be separate from these guest suites and come with features like a family dining room, office, bathtub, and large bedroom.

rendering of the G Train's bathtub with a giant moon behind it
A rendering of the G Train's bathtub. Thierry Gaugain

The train would also have a "social center" with winged terraces on both sides of the car. This space would be perfect for parties, shows, or dinners.

A rendering of the G Train's gold window frames with its terrace wings popping up
A rendering of the G Train's terrace wings. Thierry Gaugain

But if the owner wanted some peace and tranquility instead, they could head to the garden car, which is customizable based on the season.

a rendering of the G Train's garden with orange trees surrounding seating
A rendering of the G Train's garden. Thierry Gaugain

There would also be a car dedicated to toy storage, but we're not talking about the board games and stuffed animals. Toys in this instance means off-road vehicles, motorbikes, and flying cars.

rendering of the G Train as it glows gold
A rendering of the G Train. Thierry Gaugain

The G Train is customizable, which means there's an option to turn one of the cars into a swimming pool or a catwalk for a fashion show.

rendering of the side view of the G Train with glass walls
A rendering of the side view of the G Train. Thierry Gaugain

Gaugain estimated building all this could land at around $300 million, even upward of $350 million. Yes, that's a large range, but that's because the exact pricing hinges on all the amenities and artwork the G Train's owner might want.

a rendering of the G Train's partially transparent golden window
A rendering of the G Train's window. Thierry Gaugain

The train would then take over two years to build.

a rendering of the G Train's terrace looking out into the landscape
A rendering of the G Train's terrace. Thierry Gaugain

This cost and time may seem like a turnoff to prospective buyers, but Gaugain said the train would be a "vehicle for the future" because of its sustainability and technology-forward amenities.

a rendering of the black G Train going through the desert
A rendering of the G Train in the desert. Thierry Gaugain

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