GERMANY rolled out the world’s first hydrogen-powered train in 2018 – and signalled the start of a revolution for rail travel.
Two trains, made by French company Alstom, started running on a route normally operated by diesel trains.
The Coradia iLint, which is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, can cover about 1,000km on a single tank of hydrogen – and filling up with hydrogen is as fast as filling up with diesel.
It started its very first, 62-mile journey from Bremervoerde – the station where both trains will be refuelled.
The service from Cuxhaven to Buxtehude, west of Hamburg, will become the first fully operated by hydrogen trains in the first half of 2022 when a fleet of 14 Coradia iLints replaces the entire diesel fleet.
A second fleet of 27 trains will follow late in 2022 in Hessen, near Frankfurt.
Alstom has further orders for 18 hydrogen trains in Italy and in France.
“These are different designs of train but based on the same, core technology and system building blocks,” said Mike Muldoon, “And we will continue to bid for further orders around the world.”
Mike believes Germany was first because it recognised that its diesel trains were running out of steam.
“They knew emissions had to be eliminated and that diesel was going to become obsolete,” he said.
The UK, he said, was in a similar boat.
“Like Germany, the UK has a large proportion of its network that is not electrified and these routes are operated by diesel trains,” he said.
But with the UK planning to ban all diesel trains by 2040, change is coming.
Mike said the new hydrogen trains would be more expensive to build than diesel, but they would be cheaper to run.
"The value of a hydrogen train cannot be understated in the overall decarbonisation of transport,” he said.