Image: Railway Industry Association

The Railway Industry Association – the voice of the UK rail supply community –has released a factsheet underlining the role hydrogen may play on the rail network and urging the Government to commit to train fleet orders.

It outlines how a hydrogen train fleet order could work as follows:

  • Begin the process of decarbonizing the rail network, which is currently a low-carbon mode of transport;
  • Contribute to job creation, investment, and economic growth during a vital period for the UK economy; and
  • Support a blossoming sector with a fleet order that will catalyze additional investment and establish an industrial competency that the UK can export.

The briefing – which was unveiled today at an International Women in Engineering Day event hosted by the Rail Delivery Group – is part of RIA’s Rail Decarbonization 21 campaign. The campaign is calling on the government to make a specific commitment to decarbonizing the rail network, including additional electrification work and fleet orders of low-carbon, self-powered rolling stock, in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow in November 2021.

Additionally, the RIA highlights three examples of hydrogen trains developed in the United Kingdom: Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham’s HydroFLEX; Alstom and Eversholt Rail’s Breeze; and the consortium delivering Scotland’s Zero Emission Train project, which includes Transport Scotland, Angel Trains, the University of St Andrews, and Arcola Energy.

As part of its response to the Transport Committee’s Trains Fit for the Future report in May, the Government recognised that the UK will require hydrogen trains and stated that it will assist their implementation on certain lines.

Kate Jennings, Policy Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The UK rail industry has the capability to be world-leaders in developing hydrogen trains. As we approach COP26, the Government has the opportunity to kickstart the decarbonisation of the railways and showcase our expertise in this area. Already a low carbon mode of transport, taking diesel trains off the network through electric, battery and hydrogen trains would help generate jobs and investment, reduce emissions and support a pivotal industry. So, today we are calling on the Government to commit to a train fleet order of hydrogen trains as part of its upcoming Hydrogen Strategy. The supply chain stands ready to deliver, and further investment could give the industry a real boost – supporting the ‘build back better’ agenda, skilled jobs, investment and growth – and providing the UK with a competitive advantage from which to export abroad.” 

Nedim Husomanovic

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