The management of Local Transport Authority of Lower Saxony (LNVG), Alstom and The Linde Group signed the contracts on the delivery of the 14 fuel cell trains Coradia iLint and their 30-year maintenance and energy supply in Wolfsburg, Germany.
At the signing ceremony, the Lower Saxony Minister of Economy and Transport, Olaf Lies, and his team had the occasion to see the Coradia iLint prototype, which will take up pilot operation in the Elbe-Weser-Verkehrsbetriebe (evb) network in spring 2018 together with a second vehicle.
During the ceremony, all parties involved in the contract agreed that “the train of the future will be driven with hydrogen, will run completely emission-free and will start its first passenger service in Lower Saxony.”
Transport Minister Lies handed over the official notice of funding to the two LNVG chiefs Hans-Joachim Menn and Klaus Hoffmeister. LNVG will purchase the Coradia iLint trains for its own vehicle pool and will then rent them to a railway operator. The fuel cell trains are going to be maintained by Alstom in the evb depot in Bremervörde, which will be extended for this purpose.
“From now on there will be a real alternative to diesel trains in non-electrified rail transport. Hydrogen and fuel cells are an ideal combination for climate protection as well as for the energy and transport revolution. They allow the storage of energy and emission-free travelling on rail. We fund innovative technologies and make a sustainable contribution to the energy revolution in the transport sector. I am pleased that Alstom will build the trains in Lower Saxony, thus further strengthening their production site in Salzgitter,” Transport Minister Olaf Lies said.
The Linde Group will provide for the hydrogen supply of the new fuel cell trains and will therefore erect and operate the worldwide first hydrogen filling station for trains in Bremervörde. The necessary investment costs will be estimated at around EUR 10 million funded by the Federal Government. LNVG will rent the premises for the filling station from evb and will make it available to Linde AG, which will also be responsible for the operation and construction permit. The on-site production of hydrogen by electrolysis and by means of wind energy will be planned in a later phase of the project.
The new trains will be put into operation on the Buxtehude–Bremervörde–Bremerhaven–Cuxhaven route from December 2021. They will replace the DMUs of the transport authority Elbe-Weser-Verkehrsbetriebe (evb) and will reduce the pollutant emission in daily service to zero.
The supply of the train with hydrogen will be ensured by an own filling station of The Linde Group. The Coradia iLint can cover up to 1,000 kilometres with one tank fill, and can reach a maximum speed of up to 140 km/h.
This March, Alstom successfully performed the first test run at 80 km/h of the Coradia iLint train on its own test track in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony.