Alstom to deliver fleet of 27 hydrogen trains to Germany
French train builder Alstom has raked in a significant order for 27 hydrogen trains for the German state Hessen, the region of Frankfurt. The Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) wants to replace its diesel trains starting in 2022. It will be ‘the world’s biggest hydrogen train fleet’ so far.
The worlds first commercially operated hydrogen trains are riding in another German state, Lower Saxony, serving the 100 km line from Cuxhaven to Bremerhaven, Bremervörde, and Buxtehude.
In November 2017, Alstom signed a contract with the Lower Saxony region in the northwest of Germany for the delivery of 14 Coradia iLint hydrogen passenger trains. The first tests started in September last year.
Just steam and water
The train has the same performances as its diesel counterpart with a top speed of 140 kph and comparable accelerating and stopping power. It has a range of 800 km without refueling. Contrary to the diesel train, it emits no CO2, NOx or harmful particles. Just steam and water.
RMV, the public transport network of the Frankfurt metropolitan area is next to take the plunge. It will pay a total of 500 million euros for 27 Alstom trains, including the hydrogen fuel stations needed, maintenance and the ‘spare trains’ required for the next 25 years.
40% additional costs
The German federal government is supporting the ‘green transition’ by subsidizing the 40% additional costs compared to diesel trains and 40% of the value of the hydrogen refueling stations, State Secretary to the Ministry of Transport, Enak Ferlemann, explained. It will serve as a model for other projects in the future.
The trains will be assembled at Linke-Hofmann-Busch in Salzgitter (Germany), a company Alstom took over two decades ago. From 2022 on the trains will be deployed in and around the Taunus mountains to replace the diesel trains.
Replacing 500 diesel trains in France
Alstom has no doubts that other German regions will follow. In its home country, Alstom sees significant opportunities too. In November last year, Alstom presented a ‘French version’ of its hydrogen train it wants to propose to the SNCF to replace the current fleet of 450 to 500 regional diesel trains in the next ten years.
The company counts on 30 or more orders of test trains to have the hydrogen train homologated by 2022, as the French government has set as a target. Contrary to cars, that can be homologated in one member state for the whole European Union, trains have to be homologated in each country separately.