UK Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) appointed Arup to develop a ‘route map to enter service’ for hydrogen-powered trains on the Great Britain mainline.
Arup will establish a high-level operational concept, the associated operational hazards, and regulatory obligations, closely working with manufacturers, regulators, rolling stock owners and train operators.
The study, which is due to finish in February 2020, will also determine what level of standardisation is needed across the country’s railway system, clarifying the route to market from a safety and compatibility perspective.
“For rail to play a major role in enabling the UK economy to be net zero by 2050, we will need a mix of electrification, hydrogen and battery technology. This study will highlight our readiness to embrace the emerging benefits of hydrogen powered trains on our network,” said Anthony Perret Head of Sustainable Development Programme at RSSB.
The UK government has previously announced its plans to replace all diesel-only trains by 2040. Alongside electrified rail and battery powered trains, the deployment of hydrogen powered trains offers a lower carbon alternative to diesel. Incorporating hydrogen into the public transport system is seen as important to increase demand, in a move that will reduce costs and provide confidence in hydrogen as a secure and affordable fuel.
The study will review hydrogen trains readiness to enter operation on the National Rail network, as in the UK the railway operators are committed to introduce hydrogen-powered trains, and several organisations have already developed hydrogen solutions.