French train manufacturer Alstom is about to finish a four week test run of its Coradia iLint – the world’s first and only hydrogen fuel cell-powered train.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Whilst rail passengers in northern England are waking up to face another woeful commute on board this morning’s diesel-belching Pacer, Alstom has been busy conducting 80km/h testing of the iLint in Germany, ahead of a more extensive test campaign in the Czech Republic later this year.
Following testing, the unit will perform its first passenger runs on the Buxtehude–Bremervörde–Bremerhaven–Cuxhaven (Germany) route around the beginning of 2018.
The iLint is powered by a hydrogen fuel tank mounted on the roof, which generates electrical power for the drive and feeds energy into conventional batteries mounted under the floor. The zero-emission, carbon-neutral two-car unit is almost completely silent, and emits only steam and condensed water into the atmosphere. The unit being tested at the moment is based on Alstom’s conventional Coradia Lint diesel unit, and the company claims that the fuel-cell powered train will be ‘particularly suited for operation on non-electrified networks’.
80km/h testing has been taking place at the iLint’s dedicated test track in Salzgitter, Germany, whilst testing later this year will see the unit maxed out at its top speed of 140km/h in the Czech Republic.
Alstom has already signed letters of intent for 60 trains with the German states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg and the Hessian transport association ‘Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund’.
What do you think about the iLint? Are hydrogen fuel cell-powered trains the way forward? Write in the comments below, or drop us a tweet – @transportdsn.
Image credits: Alstom