Hydrogen Trains could fuel new infrastructure investment


By Richard Walford

News this week of planned tests for hydrogen powered trains. 

With new trains come new depots, station enhancement and improvement upgrades to accommodate new rolling stock as well as trackside infrastructure and development. New vehicles are often frequently a prompt for upgrade in existing line infrastructure. So good news for railway passengers and UK infrastructure generally.

However, before we all get too excited, introducing new rolling stock fleet is a complex and lengthy process - especially when new technology is involved. Multiple issues including financing, regulation and franchising still have to be negotiated and it could be some years ahead by the time that first passenger journeys take place.  

Hydrogen train to be tested in the UK by 2020 12 Feb 2018 UK: The Rail Safety & Standards Board is working with Alstom with the aim of piloting a hydrogen powered train in late 2019 or early 2020, RSSB Chief Executive Mark Phillips said on February 12. Philips was responding to a speech by Transport Minister Jo Johnson, who said he ‘would like to see us take all diesel-only trains off the track by 2040’. Johnson said the government was committed to ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and ‘if we can achieve that, then why can’t the railway aspire to a similar objective?’ Johnson said ‘total electrification of our tracks is unlikely to be the only or most cost-effective way’ to secure environmental benefits.
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