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Two Alstom hydrogen trains enter passenger service in Lower Saxony; 14 more ordered

Alstom held a world premiere event on Sunday celebrating its Coradia iLint hydrogen fuel cell train (earlier post) rolling into service in Lower Saxony, Germany. From today onwards, two such trains will enter commercial service according to a fixed timetable.

© René Frampe_20180916_evb__RFR0437

Travellers in the Eisenbahnen und Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser (EVB) network can look forward to a world-first journey on the low-noise, zero-emission trains that reach up to 140 km/h (87 mph). On behalf of Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG), the Coradia iLint trains will be operated on nearly 100km of line running between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, replacing EVB’s existing diesel fleet.

The new trains will be fueled at a mobile hydrogen filling station. The gaseous hydrogen will be pumped into the trains from a 40-foot-high steel container next to the tracks at Bremervörde station. With one tank, they can run throughout the network the whole day, with a total range of 1000 km (621 miles). A stationary filling station on EVB premises is scheduled to go into operation in 2021, when Alstom will deliver a further 14 Coradia iLint trains to LNVG.

This is a revolution for Alstom and for the future of mobility. The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell train is entering passenger service and is ready for serial production. The Coradia iLint heralds a new era in emission-free rail transport. It is an innovation that results from French-German teamwork and exemplifies successful cross-border cooperation.

—Henri Poupart-Lafarge, Chairman and CEO of Alstom

Lower Saxony’s Ministry of Economy and Transport has supported LNVG’s purchase of another 14 hydrogen trains with more than €81 million (US$94 million).

With the test operation starting today, Lower Saxony is performing real pioneering work in local transport in cooperation with Alstom and EVB. The emission-free drive technology of the Coradia iLint provides a climate-friendly alternative to conventional diesel trains, particularly on non-electrified lines.

In successfully proving the operability of the fuel cell technology in daily service, we will set the course for rail transport to be largely operated climate-friendly and emission-free in the future. The state government of Lower Saxony is proud of putting this trendsetting project on the track together with LNVG.

—Dr. Bernd Althusmann, Minister of Economy and Transport

The German federal government has actively supported the development and testing of the new drive technology in Lower Saxony by providing funds from the National Innovation Program for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology.

For LNVG chief Carmen Schwabl, whose authority organizes the rail passenger transport between the North Sea and the Harz mountains and therefore pays annual compensation of around €300 million to the railway companies, the entry to fuel cell technology is also a strategic decision. She sees LNVG in a national pioneering role.

With the two Coradia iLint trains and with the use of another 14 hydrogen trains from the end of 2021, we are the first passenger rail transport authority to replace existing diesel vehicles by emission-free vehicles, thus contributing better to the fulfilment of the climate protection goals.

We also do this because about 120 diesel trainsets in our vehicle pool will reach the end of their lifetime within the next 30 years, meaning we will have to replace them. The experience gained with this project helps us find a sustainable and practical solution.

—Carmen Schwabl

With around 2 million rail passengers and around 4 million bus passengers per year, EVB figures among the largest mobility providers in the Elbe-Weser triangle. The traditional company, with a history of more than 100 years and around 550 employees, is looking forward to the “train of the future”.

It is a great milestone that we will use the world’s first hydrogen-powered train in our Elbe-Weser network in passenger service between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, not only for the region and for us, but also for passenger rail transport worldwide. For EVB, this is the entry to emission-free mobility.

—Dr. Marcel Frank, Managing Director of EVB



They have fueling yards, so no problem with the hydrogen.


A hand to Alstom, Germany and France to pioneer the first commercial Hydrogen trains and progressively replace diesel polluting units without over head power lines.

Alstom is well know for high quality trains and subways. There is no doubt that these Coradia iLint H2 trains will be a success.

USA (AmTrack) and Canada (ViaRail) could use those H2 Alstom passenger trains on their non-electrified rails to progressively replace current diesel units to greatly reduce pollution and GHGs. Future models could certainly be driverless to reduce accidents and operation cost.

Similar units would be great as subway cars and to replace current/new suburb trains.

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