The UK Rail Industry Association RIA is calling the government to commit hydrogen train fleet orders as part of the forthcoming Hydrogen Strategy.
The association has published a briefing highlighting the role hydrogen can play on the rail network as well as on the reduction of transport emissions. The document sets out the way hydrogen train fleet order could kickstart the decarbonisation of the rail network, which is an already low carbon transport mode, support jobs, investment and economic growth at a critical time for the UK economy and back a burgeoning industry, with a fleet order catalysing further investment and providing an industry capability from which the UK could export abroad.
The decarbonisation of rail transport can also be achieved through further electrification work and fleet orders of low carbon, self-powered rolling stock.
“We are calling on the Government to commit to a train fleet order of hydrogen trains as part of its upcoming Hydrogen Strategy. The supply chain stands ready to deliver, and further investment could give the industry a real boost, supporting the ‘build back better’ agenda, skilled jobs, investment and growth, and providing the UK with a competitive advantage from which to export abroad,” Kate Jennings, Policy Director at the Railway Industry Association said.
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.
Currently, in the UK there are already three hydrogen train projects developed by the rail industry and the institutions.
The HydroFlex train, developed by Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham entered operational trials in the autumn of 2020 and will be presented at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), in Glasgow on 1 – 12 November 2021.
Alstom and Eversholt Rail are developing the Breeze hydrogen train project for which announced a GBP 1 million (EUR 1.17 million) investment to create an entirely new class of train, the first-ever 600 series. It is expected that the first Breeze trains would run the British rail network from 2024.
The third hydrogen train project in the UK includes a consortium comprising Transport Scotland, Angel Trains, the University of St Andrews and Arcola Energy which will deliver Scotland’s Zero Emission Train project. Under the project, the partners will convert a Scotrail Class 314 locomotive into a hydrogen vehicle serving as a pilot project for the future developments.