Hydrogen-powered trains in the UK from 2021 says Alstom

Alstom and Eversholt Rail plan to have Class 321 ‘Breeze’ units powered by hydrogen in traffic from 2021.

The trains will be capable of carrying sufficient hydrogen for 625 miles. They will have a top speed of 87mph and will also feature Lithium-ion batteries as well as regenerative brakes. Conversion work is planned to take place at the company’s Widnes facility.

Due to the UK loading gauge, a hydrogen tank will be fitted inside one of the vehicles, rather than on the roof as per the German iLints introduced by Alstom in Germany last year (see panel). Electrical energy is generated by combining hydrogen and oxygen.

The trains will be reduced in formation from four-car to three-car sets, using electric multiple units currently used by Greater Anglia. Alstom says that when in traffic, the ‘Breeze’ will only emit water and no harmful emissions.

It has been confirmed that the initial engineering study for the hydrogen multiple units (HMUs) is complete and the train design is finalised.

The manufacturer and rolling stock leasing company are currently working to develop the business case for the HMUs, as well as evaluating detailed introduction plans for fleets of these trains. Alstom says the concept could also be exported.

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  • AndrewJG8918 - 07/01/2019 18:41

    Brilliant idea actually. And not only that but it’s best for the Class 321s to convert as Hydrogen multiple unit whether it will retain its pantograph for running on current AC 25kv OHL or to remove the pantograph and to replace the electric traction with hydrogen engines, fuel gauge and other compartments that will power the so called Class 321 Hydrogen trains and reclassify them in the Class 7xx category. Similar to the Class 319 EMUs that are converted into Class 769 Bi-Mode/Tri-Mode “Hybrid” multiple units which will be operated on Northern, Great Western Railway and TfW Rail some time this year or later this year.

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