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First US hydrogen-powered train will be produced by Stadler

Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler Rail has concluded the first deal for supplying one Flirt hydrogen-powered train to the U.S. The vehicle will be entered service in 2024 in San Bernardino County, California. It will be the first hydrogen-powered train for Stadler Rail.

The first Flirt hydrogen-powered train was ordered by San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) within the Redlands Passenger Rail Project, a 14.5-kilometre connector between Redlands and San Bernardino’s Metrolink station. It is the first-ever contract in the United States for such type of rolling stock. Therefore, the agreement sets a milestone for the U.S. rail sector in implementing zero-emission technology. “The hydrogen FLIRT will help us address the commuting needs of today while preserving our environment for a better tomorrow,” SBCTA President Darcy McNaboe said.

Besides the firm order for one vehicle, Stadler Rail also has an option for supplying four more hydrogen-powered trains. According to the contract, the first U.S. hydrogen-powered train will have two coaches with a power pack (the fuel cells and the hydrogen tanks) between them. The vehicle will be able to carry up to 108 seated passengers and run at a maximum speed of 130 kilometres per hour.

Hydrogen trains in Europe

Stadler Rail will become the second rolling stock manufacturer in Europe to develop the hydrogen-powered trains. The pioneer in this are is Alstom that has produced the first hydrogen-powered vehicle in March 2017. The Coradia iLint prototype was introduced into regular service on the regional route in Lower Saxony, Germany, in September 2018.

This year Alstom concluded two deals for delivering hydrogen-powered trains to the German operators: 14 units to Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser (EVB) in Lower Saxony and 27 units to Fahrzeugmanagement Region Frankfurt RheinMain (fahma) in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main area. The first order should be performed by 2021 while the second one will be accomplished by the end of 2022. Besides Germany, Alstom is developing the hydrogen train for the UK market and intends to test the Coradia iLint vehicle on the regional line in the Netherlands.

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Author: Mykola Zasiadko

Mykola Zasiadko is editor of online trade magazines RailTech.com and RailFreight.com.

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