The first hydrogen-powered passenger train service is now operational. Alstom Coradia iLint trains operate on the line in Lower Saxony, Germany. The only emissions are steam and condensed water, and Alstom claims that the train runs with a low level of noise.
This week, five of the trains began service. Another nine will be added in the coming months to replace the regional route’s 15 diesel trains. According to Alstom, the Coradia iLint has a 1,000-kilometer range, which means it can run all day on the line on a single tank of hydrogen. On the route between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde, and Buxtehude, a hydrogen filling station has been installed.
Alstom, which began testing the trains in 2018, also has agreements for Coradia iLint, including 27 trains in the Frankfurt metropolitan area. The other two contracts are for Italian and French regions.
The company notes that despite electrification efforts in some countries, much of Europe’s rail network will rely on trains that are not electrified in the long term. It notes that there are more than 4,000 diesel-powered cars in Germany alone. In 2020, the country’s national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, said it was . While it will take some time to entirely switch the continent’s rail network to green energy (assuming the full conversion happens at some point), bringing hydrogen-powered trains into service is a positive step forward.