Alstom’s German H2 train to come to France

The hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint will be visible in France as of September. Alstom has just sent out invitations so as to make it known to the railway world in the Valenciennes test center on September 6. This will be the opportunity to see one of the two prototypes that validated the technology on the German rail network. The train has travelled extensively notably to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Poland. It will return to Germany in the autumn for long-term testing. The production models will be delivered from February 2022 with 14 trains for the state of Lower Saxony and 27 for the state of Hesse.

The Coradia iLint is scheduled to run on the Tours-Loches line in September. It was the wish of the Center Region to make this experiment. However, as the line is to be renovated from November onwards the test has been postponed until the summer of 2022.

In any case, its presentation in Valenciennes by Alstom is very timely. It sends out the message that this small train can meet the needs of small lines. It could enter the catalogue albeit the French regions have preferred to opt for the dual-mode Régiolis (battery electric and hydrogen) of medium capacity. Orders have been passed for 12 trains by 4 regions (Auvergne Rhône Alpes, Bourgogne Franche Comté, Grand Est, Occitanie) with an option for two more trains. They will leave the factory at the end of 2023 for testing in 2024 and a commissioning in 2025.

At the same time, Alstom is developing another hydrogen train in Italy inspired on the Smart Coradia. Six copies are expected for the northern region of Milan with specific hydrogen equipment based on the electric version (a specific body integrating the fuel cell and the tank). There is also a retrofit project in England with the Breeze train, which needs to be renovated and adapted to run in zero emission mode.

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King.

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