Hy­dro­gen ‘321’

Rail (UK) - - Contents - Richard Clin­nick As­sis­tant Ed­i­tor richard.clin­[email protected]­me­dia.co.uk @Clin­nick1

Alstom and Ever­shot Rail plan to in­tro­duce Class 321 hy­dro­gen-pow­ered units in­tro traf­fic from 2021.

ALSTOM and Ever­sholt Rail plan to have Class 321 ‘Breeze’ units pow­ered by hy­dro­gen in traf­fic from 2021.

The trains will be ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing suf­fi­cient hy­dro­gen for 625 miles. They will have a top speed of 87mph and will also fea­ture Lithium-ion bat­ter­ies as well as re­gen­er­a­tive brakes. Con­ver­sion work is planned to take place at the com­pany’s Widnes facility.

Due to the UK load­ing gauge, a hy­dro­gen tank will be fit­ted in­side one of the ve­hi­cles, rather than on the roof as per the Ger­man iLints in­tro­duced by Alstom in Ger­many last year (see panel). Elec­tri­cal en­ergy is gen­er­ated by com­bin­ing hy­dro­gen and oxy­gen.

The trains will be re­duced in for­ma­tion from four-car to three­car sets, us­ing elec­tric mul­ti­ple units cur­rently used by Greater Anglia.

Alstom says that when in traf­fic, the ‘Breeze’ will only emit wa­ter and no harm­ful emis­sions.

It has been con­firmed that the ini­tial en­gi­neer­ing study for the hy­dro­gen mul­ti­ple units (HMUs) is com­plete and the train de­sign is fi­nalised.

The man­u­fac­turer and rolling stock leas­ing com­pany are cur­rently work­ing to de­velop the busi­ness case for the HMUs, as well as eval­u­at­ing de­tailed in­tro­duc­tion plans for fleets of these trains. Alstom says the con­cept could also be ex­ported.

No cus­tomer has been con­firmed for the trains, and RAIL sources con­firm Non-Dis­clo­sure Agree­ments have been signed re­gard­ing the po­ten­tial use of the HMUs.

How­ever, it is un­der­stood that Trans­port Scot­land is in­ter­ested in the con­cept, while in­dus­try spec­u­la­tion has also linked the trains to the North­ern fran­chise.

“Hy­dro­gen train tech­nol­ogy is an ex­cit­ing in­no­va­tion which has the po­ten­tial to trans­form our rail­way, mak­ing jour­neys cleaner and greener by cut­ting CO emis­sions even fur­ther,” said Rail Min­is­ter An­drew Jones.

For­mer Rail Min­is­ter Claire Perry, now Min­is­ter for En­ergy and Clean Growth, said: “Plans for the de­sign of new hy­dro­gen-pow­ered trains, which have the po­ten­tial to only emit wa­ter, is fur­ther proof of the UK’s con­tin­ued cre­ativ­ity to trans­form the way we travel as we con­tinue to move to a greener, cleaner econ­omy.”

Alstom UK & Ire­land Man­ag­ing Direc­tor Nick Cross­field said: “Hy­dro­gen trains of­fer an ideal so­lu­tion for routes which are un­likely to ben­e­fit from elec­tri­fi­ca­tion, and our innovative en­gi­neer­ing so­lu­tion means they can now fit within the UK load­ing gauge and can quickly be ready to roll on Bri­tain’s rail­ways.”

Stephen Ti­mothy, Ever­sholt Rail Client Re­la­tions Direc­tor, said: “Com­bin­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence gained from the suc­cess­ful Co­ra­dia iLint and Class 321 Re­na­tus pro­grammes will de­liver a hy­dro­gen-pow­ered mul­ti­ple unit prod­uct that will meet spon­sors’ and train op­er­a­tors’ as­pi­ra­tions for the ear­li­est pos­si­ble fleet in­tro­duc­tion.”

There are 36 Class 321/3s and 36 Class 321/4s due off-lease with GA by Oc­to­ber 31 2019 that have not been re­fur­bished, while the 30 re-trac­tioned and re­fur­bished Re­na­tus fleet (321301-321330) are due off-lease by De­cem­ber 1 2019, al­though that will be de­pen­dent on suf­fi­cient Class 720s be­ing de­liv­ered by Bom­bardier.


An artist’s im­pres­sion of a hy­dro­gen-pow­ered Class 321.

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