Alstom and Eversholt Rail signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deliver the UK’s first ever brand-new hydrogen train fleet comprising an initial batch of ten 3-car trains.
The two companies have agreed to work together, sharing technical and commercial information necessary for Alstom to design, build, commission and support the hydrogen multiple units (HMUs) which will be built by Alstom in Britain.
“It is important that we start sooner rather than later to decarbonise UK Rail if we are to meet the 2050 ‘net-zero’ target. Hydrogen propulsion will play an important role, and this project with Alstom will demonstrate how the private sector can work together to make a difference,” Mary Kenny, the CEO of Eversholt Rail said.
The new hydrogen train fleet will be based on the latest evolution of the Alstom Aventra platform and the intention is that final contracts for the fleet will be signed in early 2022.
The Aventra single-deck train has been developed for the requirements of mainline train operations, from high-capacity metro systems to intercity services. Designed to be the fastest, smartest, and most economical platform in modern rail, Aventra trains are modular, from carriage length to interior layout and design. They can easily be modified for different customer requirements, while retaining core benefits such as a lightweight carbody and low lifecycle costs.
The two companies are committed to taking a leading role in supporting the UK and Scotland Government ambitions to decarbonise its rail sector by 2040, and the Scottish Government’s objective of doing so by 2035.
“Rail is already the lowest emission transport mode, but we can do even more, and I am delighted that we have concluded this agreement with our friends at Eversholt Rail which will lead to Britain’s first ever fleet of new hydrogen trains,” Nick Crossfield, Alstom’s Managing Director, UK & Ireland said.
Alstom and Eversholt Rail have previously worked together on a hydrogen rolling stock solution for the UK rail sector, through the proposed conversion of an existing electric multiple unit to hydrogen power. In 2020, the companies announced a GBP 1 million (EUR 1.17 million) investment to develop the Breeze project, as the first UK hydrogen train. According to the project, the trains would enter passenger services in 2024. Both companies now believe that there is a market for a fleet of new trains for use by train operators across Britain. The breadth, depth of knowledge and experience gained from the Breeze project, together with stakeholder feedback on future fleet strategies, has been invaluable in shaping the product planning.