Alstom unveils plans to develop hydrogen-powered Class 321s in the UK

Photo: Alstom.
Photo: Alstom.

Alstom is working with rolling stock operating company Eversholt Rail to introduce its hydrogen technology to trains in the UK.

Rail minister Jo Johnson announced ambitious plans to phase out diesel trains by 2040 in February and Alstom believes that its hydrogen technology can help to meet this challenge.

The Coradia iLint (pictured) is the first Alstom train based on hydrogen fuel cells and batteries and is currently on test in Germany.

Alongside Eversholt, Alstom unveiled plans to upcycle Class 321 electric trains by fitting hydrogen tanks and fuel cells on May 14.

Alstom UK & Ireland managing director, Nick Crossfield, described the potential for hydrogen trains as “enormous”.

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He added: “The Government has set a clear objective of removing diesel rolling stock by 2040 and this requires a bold and innovative response from the industry.

“Not only are hydrogen trains zero carbon, they are near-silent and emit no particulates, which means they offer substantial air quality and noise pollution benefits too.”

Nick also highlighted the potential for hydrogen trains to help avoid electrification.

He said: “We think the potential long-term application of hydrogen in the UK is very significant.

“Less than 50 per cent of the UK network is electrified, and much that isn’t electrified is unlikely ever to be so.

“Starting with this conversion, we think hydrogen could offer the right zero carbon solution for many parts of the network.”

Read more: What you need to know about Alstom’s hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint