Alstom and Eversholt Rail unveil hydrogen train design

Artists impression of Alstom hydrogen breeze train

07th January 2019

Alstom and Eversholt Rail have unveiled a new design of hydrogen train aimed at the UK market. The train, codenamed ‘Breeze’, will be a conversion of an existing Class 321 EMU to create a clean train for the modern age. With a target to have these trains running as early as 2022, the trains will have no harmful emissions and the only by-product of the process will be water.

Alstom will carry out the conversion in partnership with Eversholt Rail and will build upon a business relationship spanning 15 years across multiple rolling stock fleets. With many of the Class 321 becoming available in the near future, it is an ideal fit in terms of fleet size for the project.

The Alstom facility in Widnes will manage the conversion of this new fleet of trains, bringing engineering expertise and creating high quality jobs in the area. The news also closely follows the introduction in September of Alstom’s Coradia iLint hydrogen trains in Germany, where the technology now operates in passenger service on a daily basis.

Andrew Jones MP, UK Rail Minister said:

“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.”

Claire Perry MP, UK Minister for Energy and Clean Growth said:

“Transport in the UK has evolved over centuries from the world’s first steam train to the tens of thousands of electric vehicles on our roads today thanks to our nation of innovators. This new hydrogen powered train, which will only emit water, is further proof of the UK’s continued creativity to transform the way we travel as we continue to move to a greener, cleaner economy. The UK is on track when it comes to growing a world-leading hydrogen economy, and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are providing £23 million to power our ambition to be the ‘go-to’ place for first-class hydrogen transport.”

Nick Crossfield, Alstom UK & Ireland Managing Director said:

“The Breeze will be a clean new train for the UK with a stylish, modern look. The railways need to decarbonise and the Government has rightly set out a goal to eliminate diesel rolling stock by 2040. 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.”

Eversholt Rail Client Relations Director Stephen Timothy said:

“Eversholt Rail has an enviable record of innovation across its rolling stock portfolio. Combining the experience gained from the successful Coradia iLint and Class 321 Renatus programmes will deliver a hydrogen-powered multiple unit product that will meet sponsors’ and train operators’ aspirations for the earliest possible fleet introduction.”

Author: Darren Porter
Image: Alstom/Eversholt Rail