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Germany: Trial Operation of a Fuel Cell Train Starts in May on the Zollernalbbahn

By February 25, 2021 3   min read  (501 words)

February 25, 2021 |

Trial Operation of a Fuel Cell Train Starts in May on the Zollernalbbahn

From May 1, 2021, a hydrogen-powered train is to be in regular operation in Baden-Württemberg.

The Ministry of Transport has agreed on this with the companies Südwestdeutsche Landesverkehrs-AG (SWEG) and ALSTOM Transport Deutschland GmbH in a joint declaration of intent, which was signed on Thursday, February 25, 2021. A fuel cell vehicle of the type Alstom Coradia iLint is to be used in the networks of the Zollernalbbahn in the Tübingen / Sigmaringen area until the timetable change in December 2021. The state-owned transport company SWEG will replace a train from the current diesel fleet with the hydrogen-powered vehicle for the duration of the trial operation.

Transport Minister Winfried Hermann said: “With the experience in real operation, alternative drives can be further developed and their market readiness improved. Fuel cell trains can become a climate-friendly alternative to diesel trains if there is no overhead line. For this reason, Baden-Württemberg will support the planned cooperation positively. “

Müslüm Yakisan, President of the Alstom region DACH, explained:” As Alstom, we are clearly striving to be the leader in emission-free drives. With our Coradia iLint we are already in this position with fuel cell technology. I am extremely pleased that the SWEG, together with the Ministry of Transport in Baden-Württemberg, is confidently advancing and using the clean fuel cell train in passenger operations. “

Tobias Harms: “Want to gain experience in day-to-day operations”

The SWEG CEO Tobias Harms said: “The SWEG not only stands for quality, but also for innovation. In this respect, it is only logical to commission SWEG as the national company to carry out this exciting project.

With the use of the iLint in day-to-day operations, we want to gain experience of how well this innovative technology can be integrated into existing operational processes. So it’s about proving suitability for everyday use. Of course, we are also interested in the reaction of our passengers. But we are also faced with the question of how local emission-free train traffic can be offered in regional networks in the future. As an infrastructure operator, it is important to find out whether there are alternatives to traditional rail electrification on the vehicle. “

Alstom provides a hydrogen filling station

The partners expect technical knowledge from the trial operation that can be used for the further development and operational optimization of the train. For this purpose, an external technical expert will accompany the project.

Like battery-electric trains, fuel cell trains are locally emission-free alternatives to the use of diesel vehicles on non-electrified railway lines. Possible areas of application are routes where the construction of an overhead contact line is not economical and routes for which electrification is planned but not yet implemented (“bridge technology”). The state of Baden-Württemberg has already promoted and promoted the development of these alternative drives through various measures.

Maintenance and repair of the train will be carried out in the SWEG workshop in Gammertingen. Alstom will provide a hydrogen filling station and ensure that the filling station is supplied with sufficient hydrogen.

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