California orders 29 hydrogen trains

MoU for the design and delivery of four zero-emission hydrogen four-car Flirt trains for California was signed at InnoTrans by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).

The deal includes options for an additional 25 trains, which would take the place of the current diesel locomotives driving push-pull sets utilized for Amtrak California services that are supported by the state.

The original two-car hydrogen train that San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) bought from Stadler in 2019 was manufactured in Switzerland and unveiled earlier on September 20 at InnoTrans. This train served as a model for the upcoming trains. Along with the recently arrived Arrow low-emission Stadler Flirt DMUs, this train is scheduled to begin operation in 2024 on the planned 14.4km SBCTA San Bernardino Transit Center – University of Redlands route.

The purchase of the new trains is a crucial component of California’s aspirations to have 100% emissions-free passenger rail by 2035. Beginning in 2027, the Central Valley of California will employ the first four new Zero Emission Multiple Units (ZEMUs) on the route between Merced and Sacramento.

Longer intercity variants of the original Stadler ZEMU, the four trains are available. They will be produced in Stadler’s facilities in Salt Lake City here in the United States. The manufacturer of the hydrogen fuel cells is Ballard. According to Stadler and Calstra, the new trains are built with an operational range of 800 km between refuelings.

According to Stadler US CEO Martin Ritter, “Stadler’s mission is to contribute to making travel in North America ecologically friendly through the cars and services we provide.” Because so few train lines in the US are electrified, Flirt H2 solutions are crucial in our country.