Fuel cell trains are to take passengers in Lower Saxony from June

Train passengers in Lower Saxony should be able to travel regularly with hydrogen trains for the first time from June. The train manufacturer Alstom in Salzgitter announced this on Wednesday when asked. The diesel trains on the Cuxhaven-Buxtehude railway line are to be replaced by 14 hydrogen trains this year. The first trains are already at a hydrogen filling station in Bremervörde for training purposes.

According to Alstom, this is the world’s first fleet of hydrogen trains in regular passenger service. From September 2018 to February 2020, two of the new trains were already being tested on the route with passengers. They should have proven themselves.

According to Alstom, further hydrogen trains should go into regular operation in Hesse at the end of the year. There, the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV) ordered 27 Coradia iLint trains. A hydrogen filling station will be built in Frankfurt-Höchst for this purpose. In Baden-Württemberg, too, there are plans to use fuel cell trains in regular operation. Last year, a Coradia iLint was used as a test on the Zollernalbbahn.

On Wednesday, Lower Saxony’s Europe Minister Birgit Honé (SPD) and an EU delegation found out about hydrogen trains at Alstom in Salzgitter. The state had funded the purchase of the 14 trains with around 81 million euros.


The Coradia iLint from rail vehicle manufacturer Alstom has apparently proven itself in tests.
(Image: alstom.com)

In April of this year, the federal government said that using trains powered by hydrogen or batteries could be more economical than equipping previously non-electrified railway lines with overhead lines. In Lower Saxony, 2046 of the 3414 state-owned railway lines were electrified last year. Batteries from electric trains could be charged on partially electrified routes, as is being tested on the Stuttgart – Horb route. In addition to hydrogen trains, hybrid trains are also planned in Lower Saxony.


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