Ambitious plans have been unveiled today by rail manufacturer Alstom which will see hydrogen (H2) trains rolled out across the UK as early as 2022.
The train, codenamed ‘Breeze’, will be a conversion of existing Class 321 trains, reengineering some of the country’s most reliable rolling stock, to create a clean train for the modern age.
Alstom, working in partnership with Eversholt Rail, will carry out the conversion.
The two companies confirmed their initial, comprehensive engineering study is now complete and the train design concept is finalised.
The innovative technical solution defined is the first to allow a H2 train to fit within the standard UK loading gauge, and it will also create more space for passengers than the trains they are intended to replace.
“The Breeze will be a clean new train for the UK with a stylish, modern look,” said Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK & Ireland Managing Director.
“The railways need to decarbonise and the government has rightly set out a goal to eliminate diesel rolling stock by 2040.”
“H2 trains offer an ideal solution for routes which are unlikely to benefit from electrification, and our innovative engineering solution means they can now fit within the UK loading gauge and can quickly be ready to roll on Britain’s railways.”
UK Rail Minister Andrew Jones MP said H2 train technology is an exciting innovation which has the potential to transform railways, making journeys cleaner and greener by cutting CO2 emissions even further.
“We are working with industry to establish how H2 trains can play an important part in the future, delivering better services on rural and inter-urban routes,” he added.
UK Minister for Energy and Clean Growth Claire Perry MP said, “Transport in the UK has evolved over centuries from the world’s first steam train to the tens of thousands of electric vehicles on our roads today thanks to our nation of innovators.”
“This new H2-powered train, which will only emit water, is further proof of the UK’s continued creativity to transform the way we travel as we continue to move to a greener, cleaner economy.”
“The UK is on track when it comes to growing a world-leading H2 economy, and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are providing £23m to power our ambition to be the ‘go-to’ place for first-class H2 transport.”