UK should order hydrogen trains, says RIA
“Already a low carbon mode of transport, taking diesel trains off the network through electric, battery and hydrogen trains would help generate jobs and investment, reduce emissions and support a pivotal industry”, said Kate Jennings, Policy Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA). The RIA is calling on the UK government to commit to a train fleet order of hydrogen trains as part of its upcoming Hydrogen Strategy.
Ahead of the forthcoming Government Hydrogen Strategy, the RIA– the voice of the UK rail supply community – has published a briefing highlighting the role hydrogen can play on the rail network. They are calling for the Government to commit to hydrogen train fleet orders. The briefing was launched at a Rail Delivery Group event to celebrate International Women in Engineering Day.
Build back better
The briefing sets out how a hydrogen train fleet order could kickstart the decarbonisation of the rail network, which is an already low carbon form of transport. “The supply chain stands ready to deliver, and further investment could give the industry a real boost”, said Kate Jennings. It also supports the ‘build back better’ agenda, skilled jobs, investment and growth – and provide the UK with a competitive advantage from which to export abroad, says RIA.
Committing to a hydrogen fleet would also support jobs, investment and economic growth at a critical time for the UK economy. A fleet order would also catalyse further investment and provide an industry capability from which the UK could export abroad. In Europe, Germany already has big plans for hydrogen and aim to become a leader the field, as well as Russia.
The briefing forms part of RIA’s Rail Decarbonisation 21 campaign. The campaign is calling for a specific government commitment to decarbonise the rail network ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow in November 2021. This can be achieved through further electrification work and fleet orders of low carbon, self-powered rolling stock.
RIA also highlights three examples of UK-developed hydrogen trains, including: Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham’s HydroFLEX; Alstom and Eversholt Rail’s Breeze; and the consortium delivering Scotland’s Zero Emission Train project, comprising Transport Scotland, Angel Trains, the University of St Andrews and Arcola Energy.
In May this year, the Government acknowledged the UK will need hydrogen trains and said they will support the deployment on certain lines, as part of its response to the Transport Committee’s Trains Fit for the Future report.