Alstom and Eversholt Rail have announced a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at delivering the UK’s first ever brand-new hydrogen train fleet.
The two companies have agreed to work together, sharing technical and commercial information necessary for Alstom to design, build, commission and support a fleet of ten three-car hydrogen multiple units (HMUs). These will be built by Alstom in Britain. The new HMU fleet will be based on the latest evolution of the Alstom Aventra platform and the intention is that final contracts for the fleet will be signed in early 2022.
Eversholt Rail and Alstom are committed to taking a leading role in supporting the UK and Scotland Government ambitions to decarbonise its rail sector by 2040, and the Scottish Government’s objective of doing so by 2035.
Nick Crossfield, Alstom’s Managing Director for UK & Ireland said: “COP26 is a reminder of just how urgent the need to decarbonise our world is. Rail is already the lowest emission transport mode, but we can do even more, and I am delighted that we have concluded this agreement with our friends at Eversholt Rail which will lead to Britain’s first ever fleet of new hydrogen trains.”
Alstom and Eversholt Rail have previously worked together on a hydrogen rolling stock solution for the UK rail sector, through the proposed conversion of an existing Electric Multiple Unit to hydrogen power – the ‘Breeze’ project. Both companies now believe that there is a market for a fleet of new trains for use by train operators across Britain. The depth of knowledge and experience gained from the Breeze project, together with stakeholder feedback on future fleet strategies, has been invaluable in shaping the product planning.
Building on Alstom’s expertise, the Aventra single-deck train has been developed for the requirements of mainline train operations, from high-capacity metro systems to intercity services. Designed to be the fastest, smartest, and most economical platform in modern rail, Aventra trains are modular, from carriage length to interior layout and design. They can easily be modified for different customer requirements, while retaining core benefits such as a lightweight carbody and low lifecycle costs.
Mary Kenny, CEO of Eversholt Rail said: “It is important that we start sooner rather than later to decarbonise UK Rail if we are to meet the 2050 ‘net-zero’ target. Hydrogen propulsion will play an important role, and this project with Alstom will demonstrate how the private sector can work together to make a difference.”
Photo credit: Alstom