GO Transit commuter trains are at present formed diesel locomotives and push-pull trailer cars.

CANADA: Greater Toronto transport agency Metrolinx has issued a request for proposals seeking design concepts showing how hydrogen fuel cells could be integrated into double-deck electric multiple-units.

Metrolinx plans to commission a number of rolling stock manufacturers to prepare designs and demonstrate the impact that incorporating hydrogen fuel cells into double-deck trains would have on the performance of the GO Rail commuter network. This would support a feasibility study which is being undertaken to assess whether hydrogen fuel cells could offer an alternative to conventional overhead electrification planned as part of the GO Regional Express Rail programme to develop an all-day passenger network.

According to Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation, ‘recent advances in the use of hydrogen fuel cells to power electric trains in other jurisdictions makes it important that Ontario consider this clean electric technology as an alternative to conventional overhead wires’.

The feasibility study is expected to be complete by the end of 2017, with a decision on the future electrification technology to follow.

The design concept RFP ‘is a critical step to helping us understand the possibilities of using hydrail on our network’, said Metrolinx Acting President & CEO Robert Siddall on September 15. ‘This procurement process will allow Metrolinx to identify partners with bi-level EMU experience and capacity to integrate a hydrogen fuel cell system into their bi-level EMU products.’

Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca said he looked forward to reviewing the results of the feasibility study, because the electrification project ‘represents a significant investment that will impact Ontarians for generations’, and thus ‘it is critical that we get it right.’