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London tests ‘chill-out carriages’ to combat work anxiety

New ‘chill-out carriages’ have been introduced on twelve DLR trains in east London, offering spaces for commuters to calm down during intense periods of work related stress.

Nearly two years into the pandemic, many workplaces have slowly re-introduced staff to regular commuting and office hours.

As our tubes and motorways fill up once more with the congested stress of hurried employees, work anxiety and stress has steadily risen alongside burnout. Many of us are feeling the effects of a world re-opening – so how do we keep things calm and collected?

East London is introducing ‘chill-out carriages’ to twelve of its DLR trains, which include photography and artwork of forests and natural environments, as well as ‘meditation corners’ at three DLR stations.

Commuters at Canary Wharf, Tower Gateway, and Woolwich Arsenal will have access to these spaces for at least six months, and can download a specially-made mediation app.


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The project is intended to remind commuters and workers to take care of their mental health and be more open about stress and anxiety.

Dan Barret, representing mental health organisation Thrive LDN, said that these new ‘chill-out carriages’ were a great way to provide ‘a small pause, some breathing space’ and helped commuters to ‘start their journey feeling calmer and more resilient’.

Of course, while it’s certainly a novel concept, it’ll be interesting to see how these carriages play out in real time. London tubes are notoriously hectic and cut-throat during rush hour (trust me, I’ve been squashed up against the side of a plastic window like a suffocating sardine more than a few times).

Will travellers really allow one another to calm down and provide adequate space to wind down? I’ll believe it when I see it.

Still, this is a noble and well-intended effort to help out in a time of significant uncertainty and stress. Being sat around images of the forest isn’t quite the same as the real deal, but it’s a start.


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If the project proves successful we could see more carriages of a similar nature pop up on other lines. Perhaps in a year or two we’ll all be carting ourselves from Soho to Peckham surrounded by virtual shrubbery and rainforests.

You can learn more about the project by visiting the official ‘Inner Journey’ carriage website here. Just mind the closing doors on your way in!


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