- This story was featured on September 17, 2019
For almost a year, the two world’s first hydrogen-powered regional trains have been operating daily in the Weser-Elbe network, covering more than 130,000 km.
The reason for much of the enthusiasm and that gets companies excited about these trains is that these hydrogen trains are emission-free vehicles and plans for the Weser-Elbe network are to eventually replace the diesel trains used on non-electrified railway lines with these hydrogen-powered trains.
Hydrogen trains extremely reliable
“The trains went really well,” says a spokeswoman for the railways and public transport Elbe-Weser, Andrea Stein: “We have a very high level of availability, even though these are only pre-production models.” Specifically, this means: The two prototypes “Coradia iLint”, which were built by the company Alstom in Salzgitter, ran at 95 percent of cases reliably.
The trains covered more than 130,000 kilometers each year. “A very positive testing phase”, also stressed by Dirk Altwig from Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG).
The manufacturer and owner of the vehicles, the company Alstom, would now like to intensively evaluate the findings gained together with the state traffic company of Lower Saxony (LNVG) and for now, the trains will remain out of service and not be in use during this evaluation stage.
Diesel trains should disappear
According to Lower Saxony (LNVG) once the data is analyzed it is the plant to replace all 15 diesel trains starting in December 2022 with iLint hydrogen-powered trains. Hesse has already ordered 27 iLint hydrogen trains. If all goes as planned the LNVG believes that the hydrogen trains should someday replace their diesel-powered counterparts on non-electrified routes. Currently, a total of 126 diesel multiple units are traveling on such routes in Lower Saxony.