Lower Saxony’s hydrogen trains are delayed

The hydrogen train fleet’s scheduled launch has been postponed indefinitely.

The first hydrogen-powered regional trains should be transporting passengers in regular operation on the Cuxhaven railway line via Bremervörde and Bremerhaven to Buxtehude by June this year, according to Alstom, a French company with a branch in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony, which manufactures the CO2-free trains.

However, as the regional transport operator in Lower Saxony refused to specify a specific start date, the business retracted its announcement. Only employee training visits are planned for June, according to Alstom, writes the dpa (German Press Agency).

For quite some time, new, more ecologically friendly trains have been proposed

Lower Saxony’s regional transport corporation chose to acquire 14 H2 trains of the Alstom Coradia iLint type in November 2017, to replace the aging diesel cars in the state.

The arrangement also covers the trains’ maintenance and power supply for the next 30 years. Verkehrsbetriebe Elbe-Weser GmbH (EVB) may progressively phase out their old diesel-powered trains now that they have acquired the trains. The new H2 trains were already being tested with passengers between 2018 and 2020.

The hydrogen trains are expected to travel at a top speed of 140 kilometers per hour. They should also be capable of covering 1,000 kilometers on a single tank fill. The H2 trains can also be refueled on the EVB site at Bremervörde station, in addition to a stationary filling station.

In Europe, more hydrogen trains are on the road

In Hesse, the blue regional trains will also be utilized. In Frankfurt-Höchst, a new hydrogen filling station for 27 ordered trains will be built. As early as December 2022, they might start rolling down the rails. Hydrogen trains are being tested in Austria, the Netherlands, and other European nations.

Siemens, for example, is working on its Mireo Plus H H2 train in addition to Alstom. According to Deutsche Bahn (DB), removing obsolete diesel vehicles from the route between Pforzheim and Tübingen alone may save 330 tons of CO2. The H2goesRail initiative will put this to the test starting in 2024. However, these trains will only be truly ecologically benign if hydrogen fuel extraction and production can be rendered carbon-neutral.

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