Hydroflex Train

UK: Calling on the government to commit to placing orders for hydrogen trains, the Railway Industry Association has published a briefing document highlighting the role that hydrogen could play on the rail network.

RIA says hydrogen trains could support further decarbonisation of an already low carbon form of transport, support jobs, investment and economic growth, and government backing could catalyse further investment in a ‘burgeoning’ industry.

Alstom and Eversholt Rail’s Breeze

The briefing says that current hydrogen trains offer a speed of 160 km/h and range of up to 1 300 km, making them a ‘plausible direct replacement’ for existing diesel trains on those longer and less intensively used regional routes where there is no economic case for electrification. Network Rail’s interim Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy has identified 1 000 to 3 300 km of such lines.

RIA highlights three UK projects to develop hydrogen trains: Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham’s HydroFLEX; Alstom and Eversholt Rail’s Breeze; and Transport Scotland, Angel Trains, the University of St Andrews and Arcola Energy’s Zero Emission Train project.

Coradia iLint (Photo: Alstom/Rene Frampe)

Elsewhere, Alstom’s iLint hydrogen train has been demonstrated in various countries, most recently Poland, and Siemens Mobility is working with Deutsche Bahn to develop a prototype hydrogen train.

‘The supply chain stands ready to deliver, and further investment could give the industry a real boost: supporting the “build back better” agenda, skilled jobs, investment and growth, and providing the UK with a competitive advantage from which to export abroad’, said RIA Policy Director Kate Jennings. ‘The UK rail industry has the capability to be a world leader in developing hydrogen trains.’