The UK could see a fleet of hydrogen trains operating on its railways by 2022 under plans to phase out diesel engines. Powered by hydrogen fuel cells and aptly named ‘Breeze’, the design comes from French multinational, Alstom and Eversholt Rail. This will not be a completely new venture for Alstom, who has already experienced success with its introduction of ‘Coradia iLint’ hydrogen trains in Germany, where they now operate regular passenger services on a daily basis.
Given the railways need to decarbonise, Department for Transport is in support of Alstom’s reinvention, especially that it is in line with their own plans to eliminate diesel from their network by 2040. The new Breeze fleet can run at speeds of up to 90mph and could be deployed on commuter and suburban lines by 2021, emitting only water in the form of steam and creating a number of engineering jobs for the rail sector.
Nick Crossfield, UK and Ireland MD of Alstom, has recently commented: “The Breeze will be a clean new train for the UK with a stylish, modern look. Hydrogen trains offer an ideal solution for routes which are unlikely to benefit from electrification, and our innovative engineering solution means they can now fit within the UK loading gauge and can quickly be ready to roll on Britain’s railways. In Germany, Alstom’s hydrogen trains are already transporting passengers in the comfort and quiet that is characteristic of these trains. The Breeze offers British rail users the opportunity to share in the pleasure that is a journey on a hydrogen train.”