The Rise of Hydrogen-Powered Trains: A Sustainable Future for Passenger Rail

As the world looks for ways to reduce the impact of greenhouse gasses, the rise of hydrogen-powered trains is gaining momentum. The U.S., China, and Europe are driving this new technology, shaping the future of rail transportation.

In the United States, the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) just got its first hydrogen-powered trainset from Swiss-based Stadler. The two-car train will run on the 9-mile “Arrow” rail line in California and is set to go into service in 2024 after undergoing testing in Europe. California has a goal of making all its passenger trains 100% emissions-free by 2035, and this new train aligns with that mission.

China’s CRRC Changchun Railway Company and Chengdu Rail Transit have produced the country’s first hydrogen passenger train, specifically made for city environments. It is said to be the world’s fastest hydrogen-powered train to date, capable of reaching 100 mph (160 km/h). This train is part of China’s plan to grow its hydrogen energy sector and have 50,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles on the road by 2025.

In Europe, much of the rail network is electrified and the use of diesel trains has declined. In September 2018, Alstom introduced the world’s first commercial hydrogen-powered passenger train in Lower Saxony, Germany. Electrical power for the Coradia iLint is generated by a hydrogen fuel cell, emitting only steam and condensed water. Alstom is planning to replace 3,000 more diesel trains with hydrogen trains. A fleet of 14 diesel trains already has been replaced by hydrogen trains near Bremerhaven, making the railway line the first to run entirely on hydrogen. According to Roland Berger’s World Rail Market Study, twenty percent of regional trains in Europe will run on hydrogen by 2035.

As hydrogen-fueled passenger trains gain popularity, we can expect to see more developments like these from around the world. OneH2 is proud to be a part of this movement and support it with our custom hydrogen fuel solutions. We specialize in material handling, transportation, and public infrastructure, and are committed to helping businesses transition to a sustainable future. With the continued growth of the hydrogen industry, we believe that the future of transportation is bright and exciting. Join us on this hydrogen-fueled revolution!

CNN Travel: The world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger trains are here
Hydrogen Fuel News: First hydrogen passenger train launched in China is also a world first for urban transit
Trains: Stadler unveils first hydrogen train for U.S., announces order for up to 29 more
Rail Tech: ‘By 2035, 20 percent of regional European trains will run on hydrogen’