The world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train has entered into service in Germany, with manufacturer Alstom announcing the launch on Wednesday of five trains in Bremervörde, Lower Saxony.
Following a four-year trial, the Coradia iLint regional trains, which are powered by fuel cell propulsion, now service the route between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, managed by the Elbe-Weser Railways and Transport Company (EVB).
Emitting only water vapour and condensation, the trains operate with a low level of noise and travel at speeds of 80 to 120 kilometres per hour, with a maximum speed of 140 kilometres per hour.
Fourteen hydrogen-powered trains will gradually replace the 15 diesel trains currently operating on the route, with the line expected to be completely emission-free by the end of the year.
According to the manufacturer Coradia iLint trains have a range of 1,000 kilometres and can run all day on one tank of hydrogen. They are fuelled daily at the Linde hydrogen filling station in Bremervörde and have been specifically developed for use on non-electrified lines, enabling a “clean, sustainable train operation while maintaining high performance”.
As well as Lower Saxony, Alstom currently has contracts for 27 hydrogen-powered trains in the Frankfurt metropolitan area, six in Italy’s Lombardy region, set to debut in 2023, and 12 across four regions in France.