Coradia Polyvalent H2 hydrogen train (Image: Alstom Design & Styling)

FRANCE: SNCF Voyageurs has placed orders totalling €190m for Alstom to supply 12 hydrogen-electric multiple-units for use in four regions, with options for a further two trainsets.

The operator has placed the orders on behalf of the regions of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Grand Est and Occitanie, which have each been awarded €4m of government funding to support the development of hydrogen technology.

The contract for the first three trains for the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region was signed last month, and these are expected to enter service from 2024. The 160 km/h articulated units from Alstom’s Coradia Polyvalent family are expected to have a range of 400 to 600 km when powered by hydrogen.

Coradia Polyvalent H2 hydrogen train (Image: Alstom Design & Styling)

Announcing the combined orders on April 8, Alstom said the use of hydrogen fuel cells ‘marks a genuine revolution in rail’. It said France’s first fuel cell trains would help to cut greenhouse gas emissions and noise in line with both the hydrogen plan launched by the government in June 2018 and SNCF Voyageurs’ PlaneTER programme to reduce the environmental impact of TER regional services.

Other French regions have expressed interest in participating in a second phase of the initiative.