USA: Southern California’s San Bernardino County Transportation Authority has awarded Stadler a contract to supply a Flirt H2 hydrogen fuel cell powered multiple-unit to enter passenger service in 2024, with an option for a further four units.
Stadler said the contract announced on November 14 was ‘a major milestone in bringing zero-emission passenger rail technology to the USA’.
The Flirt H2 unit will have two cars with a total of 108 seats and ‘generous’ standing room, plus a central power module holding the fuel cells and the hydrogen tanks. It will have a maximum speed of 79 mile/h (127 km/h), the federal limit above which additional signalling systems are required.
It is to be deployed on the Redlands Passenger Rail Project, a 14·5 km passenger service which is being developed on a former Santa Fe freight railway alignment between the University of Redlands and the Metrolink commuter rail station in San Bernardino.
In 2017 SBCTA ordered three diesel-electric Flirt units for the line, which is currently being built by Flatiron Construction Corp. The ‘Arrow’ branded service is expected to launch in late 2021.
The order for a hydrogen unit ‘is an excellent example of how we are demonstrating our commitment to the next generation’, said SBCTA President Darcy McNaboe. ‘The hydrogen Flirt will help us address the commuting needs of today while preserving our environment for a better tomorrow.’
‘Stadler is committed to designing and building green technology for the transportation industry’, added Martin Ritter, CEO of Stadler US Inc. ‘We have an excellent relationship with SBCTA, and it is a great honour to partner with them to bring the first hydrogen-powered train to the USA.’
- Register to read an in-depth article from the November 2019 issue of Railway Gazette International magazine which looks at how pressure to decarbonise rail transport is driving interest in fuel cells and battery technology as alternatives to diesel.