Derby train-maker Alstom has signed an agreement, which aims to deliver the UK’s first ever hydrogen train fleet.
The firm has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with train owner and financier Eversholt Rail to design, build, commission and support a fleet of 10 three-carriage hydrogen multiple units (HMUs).
The two companies have agreed to work together, sharing technical and commercial information necessary for Alstom to develop the new fleet, which would be built in the UK and be based on the Aventra, which is currently built in Derby.
Alstom said the intention is that final contracts for the fleet will be signed early next year.
Nick Crossfield, Alstom’s Managing Director for UK and Ireland, said: “COP26 is a reminder of just how urgent the need to decarbonise our world is.
“Rail is already the lowest emission transport mode, but we can do even more, and I am delighted that we have concluded this agreement with our friends at Eversholt Rail which will lead to Britain’s first ever fleet of new hydrogen trains.”
According to both firms, the hydrogen trains project will help with the British and Scottish governments’ targets to decarbonise rail.
Alstom is a global leader in the provision of rolling stock solutions and was the first company in the world to produce a hydrogen powered train – the Coradia iLint – which is in operational service in Germany.
Mary Kenny, Chief Executive at Eversholt Rail, said: “It is important that we start sooner rather than later to decarbonise UK rail if we are to meet the 2050 ‘net-zero’ target.
“Hydrogen propulsion will play an important role, and this project with Alstom will demonstrate how the private sector can work together to make a difference.”
Both companies have a track record of working together on a hydrogen rolling stock solution for the UK rail sector.
The ‘Breeze’ project involves the proposed conversion of an existing Electric Multiple Unit to hydrogen power.
Both companies now believe that there is a market for a fleet of new trains for use by train operators across Britain.
Alstom said that the breadth, depth of knowledge and experience gained from the Breeze project, together with stakeholder feedback on future fleet strategies, has been invaluable in shaping the product planning.