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Hydrogen-powered train for the UK unveiled

Alstom Breeze

French train manufacturer Alstom has teamed up with leasing company Eversholt to unveil a new train powered by hydrogen.

Well, technically, it’s not an entirely new train – codenamed ‘Breeze’, the hydrogen-powered unit will be a conversion of existing Class 321 trains, reengineering some of the UK’s ‘most reliable rolling stock, to create a clean train for the modern age’.

Launching as early as 2022, the repowered units will emit only water from their tailpipes, with no other harmful emissions at all.

The rolling stock conversion will be carried out by Alstom, working in partnership with Eversholt Rail. Alstom say the proven and reliable Class 321 is an excellent fit in terms of characteristics, fleet size and availability for conversion to a Hydrogen Multiple Unit (HMU). The Alstom facility in Widnes will manage the conversion of the Breeze trains, creating high quality engineering jobs in this new, emerging sector. 

The news follows the introduction in September of Alstom’s Coradia iLint hydrogen trains in Germany, where they now operate in regular passenger service on a daily basis. There is growing interest in Alstom’s hydrogen technology worldwide, including in France where the President of the Occitanie region, Carole Delga, recently announced a proposal to introduce the technology on trains there.

“Hydrogen train technology is an exciting innovation which has the potential to transform our railway, making journeys cleaner and greener by cutting CO2 emissions even further. We are working with industry to establish how hydrogen trains can play an important part in the future, delivering better services on rural and inter-urban routes, said Andrew Jones MP, UK Rail Minister.

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