Prov­ince to pur­sue clean-train tech

Silent hy­dro­gen trains emit only steam, wa­ter

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - TORONTO -

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment has de­cided to pur­sue po­ten­tially ground­break­ing clean train tech­nol­ogy as part of its plans to elec­trify the GO Tran­sit net­work.

At an an­nounce­ment Thurs­day morn­ing, the prov­ince is set to of­fi­cially launch the long-awaited study and pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion process on elec­tri­fy­ing GO lines un­der its re­gional ex­press rail (RER) pro­gram.

The On­tario Lib­er­als say the $13.5-bil­lion RER ex­pan­sion will in­tro­duce all-day, two-way GO ser­vice on the busiest parts of the GTHA’s re­gional rail net­work by 2025. The as­sess­ment of the pro­gram’s en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts is part of the gov­ern­ment­man­dated tran­sit project as­sess­ment process (TPAP) that must be com­plete be­fore the ex­pan­sion can go ahead.

Trans­porta­tion Min­is­ter Steven Del Duca con­firmed that in con­junc­tion with the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion as­sess­ment, the prov­ince will also launch a fea­si­bil­ity study of hy­dro­gen-pow­ered pas­sen­ger trains.

Pas­sen­ger trains pow­ered by hy­dro­gen fuel cells have yet to en­ter reg­u­lar ser­vice any­where in the world, but early mod­els have reached ad­vanced test­ing phases in Europe. Man­u­fac­tur­ers say the trains are nearly silent, and pro­duce no emis­sions be­sides steam and con­densed wa­ter.

The fea­si­bil­ity study will help de­ter­mine whether hy­dro­gen trains might be a bet­ter op­tion for the RER pro­gram than tra­di­tional elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

Metrolinx, the pro­vin­cial tran­sit agency for the GTHA, will lead the study. Ground­break­ing clean-train tech­nol­ogy is on the ta­ble for the Go tran­sit net­work.

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