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French train giant Alstom set to make UK's first hydrogen fleet at British site

French train manufacturer Alstom is set to become the first company to bring hydrogen trains to the UK with its plans to convert an existing fleet.
The company said the move was the “first substantive industry response” to calls by the Government for the removal of all diesel rolling stock by 2040.
Alstom will convert a fleet of Class 321 electric trains by fitting hydrogen tanks and fuel cells to power them. The fuel cell on the trains will produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen to create water.
The electrical energy is then intermediately stored in batteries and the train is powered by an electrical traction drive. The only exhaust is steam and condensed water.
Alstom will carry out the work at its site in Widnes, Cheshire and will also partner on the project Eversholt Rail.
The move will be welcomed by the Government after Rail Minister Jo Johnson called in February for the removal of all diesel rolling stock by 2040.
French train giant Alstom set to make UK's first hydrogen fleet at British site

Rail Minister Jo Johnson has called for the removal of all diesel rolling stock by 2040

Credit:
Bloomberg
Beyond that, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has recently cancelled a host of railway line electrification schemes owing to cost overruns and claims that technological advances - such as hydrogen-powered trains - would negate the need for electrified lines in the coming years.
Less than half the UK network is electrified and the development of hydrogen trains could mean no further tracks are powered in this way beyond works already planned.
Alstom has already developed a hydrogen train in Germany called the Coradia iLint. This is currently being tested in Germany but wouldn’t fit on the UK’s railway lines, hence the company’s decision to convert an existing fleet.
Nick Crossfield, Alstom’s UK and Ireland boss, said: “Not only are hydrogen trains zero carbon, they are near-silent and emit no particulates, which means they offer substantial air quality and noise pollution benefits too.
“On cost, hydrogen trains can help to avoid the necessity for line electrification, which represents a significant investment for customers.”
French train giant Alstom set to make UK's first hydrogen fleet at British site

There are growing concerns about pollution from diesel emissions at railway stations and the Rail Safety and Standards Board is studying concentrations of toxic nitrogen dioxide and particulates at London's King's Cross and Edinburgh's Waverley stations
Nearly a third of all the UK’s trains are diesel trains, which will need to be replaced or refurbished to hit the Government’s target of no diesel rail vehicles by 2040.
Alstom, which recorded €7.3bn (?6.4bn) in sales and €10bn of orders in the 2016/17 fiscal year is based in France. It employs nearly 33,000 people across more than 60 countries.
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