ALSTOM and Eversholt Rail are investing another £1 million in the development of British hydrogen-fuelled trains, which will be produced at Alstom’s Transport Technology Centre in Widnes.
The trains, branded Breeze, are converted from ex-British Rail electric Class 321s, and will form a new Class 600 series. They will emit only water when powered by ‘green’ hydrogen, Alstom said.
The Class 600s are intended for regional routes which have not been electrified, and Alstom has already been developing a hydrogen train in Germany, the Coradia iLint.
The company said its Breeze programme will make sure that the trains are available for ‘swift deployment’ in Britain wherever conventional electrification with overhead wires might be impractical or intrusive.
Alstom’s managing director in the UK and Ireland Nick Crossfield said: ‘It’s time to jump-start the UK hydrogen revolution. With the Government looking to invest in green technologies, Alstom and Eversholt Rail have deepened our already extensive commitment to this job-creating technology with a further million-pound investment.
‘This bold move to back the Government’s ambitions on hydrogen means we are the only game in town if you want a shovel ready British hydrogen train. The Breeze is good to go, wherever the Government commits to upgrading Britain’s railway with hydrogen trains.’
Alstom’s partner in the Breeze development is rolling stock leasing company Eversholt Rail. CEO Mary Kenny said: ‘Eversholt Rail has a proud record of innovation in key rolling stock technologies and this further investment in the Breeze programme demonstrates our commitment to providing timely, cost-effective solutions to the identified need for hydrogen trains to support the decarbonisation of the railway.’