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Alstom bids to develop hydrogen power using ‘321s’

Alstom has confirmed that it is working with Eversholt Rail to create the UK’s first hydrogen-powered main line train. 

The company plans to convert Class 321 electric multiple units to hydrogen operation by fitting on-board tanks for the gas, which when combined with oxygen can produce an electrical current to charge fuel cells for traction.

According to Alstom, the only other bi-products of the process are water and steam, making its hydrogen technology a zero-carbon emission and much quieter alternative to diesel-powered trains.

It will also be marketed to prospective operators as a way to achieve the environmental benefits of further electrification of the UK network without the associated disruption and capital expenditure.

There are currently 101 four-car Class 321s operated by Greater Anglia and a further three four-car units operated by Northern. All are due to go off-lease by the end of 2019 - neither Alstom nor Eversholt Rail would confirm how many would be converted.

In September 2016, Alstom became the first company to introduce a regional hydrogen-powered train when it launched the Coradia iLint at the biennial Innotrans exhibition in Berlin (RAIL 810). 

  • The FULL story appears in RAIL 853, published on May 23, and available digitally on Android and iPad from May 19.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 15/05/2018 23:32

    I think its a good idea. These Class 321 Hydrogen or Classed as Class 8xx could be operated on both electrified and non-electrified lines across England, Scotland and Wales. With most of them having pantographs removed and new hydrogen engines fitted. Wales could benefit on using these 30 year old EMU trains that are to be converted into HMU (Hydrogen Multiple Unit) and could possibly work on the North Wales Line and Mid Wales Line. And Scotland could also benefit on using these to work up north in Scotland. Northern Ireland could also follow on to have hydrogen trains in the future.

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