By Eric Grundhauser, originally published in Atlas Obscura.
China has unveiled a panda-themed subway train that might set a new standard for adorable design in public transportation. According to the Railway Gazette, the train was created to draw tourists to the Panda Base in Chengdu, a large panda bear conservation facility. But, seriously, PANDA TRAIN!
The new train and the matching station at the Chengdu Panda Base were unveiled Sunday morning, with the new subway line taking on its first passengers just after 8 a.m. The train itself is wrapped with cartoon panda bear designs all over the outside of the carriage, but the inside takes it one step further. The interior of the panda train features even more cartoons adorning the walls, including pink panda prints along the floor. The poles running down the middle of the car are painted to resemble bamboo and even the individual handles over the seats have been sculpted into the outline of a panda's head, complete with little ears. Most strikingly, some cars appear to have seats which are shaped like full pandas, so that when you take a seat, it's like you are sitting in their lap. Oh and also, the announcements are made in a child's voice.
The train's inaugural trip along the 17 stops on its line was celebrated with people in panda costumes mingling with the riders. In addition to the Panda Base, the train drops off at the local zoo and makes a number of municipal stops. For anyone that has had to make the morning commute in a dreary, factory-issue subway, the panda train might look like just the thing to brighten your day. Or make it worse.