World's First Hydrogen-Powered Passenger Train Comes to Germany

Sep 29, 2016

hydrorail Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) The world's first hydrogen-powered passenger train will operate in Germany starting next year, providing a zero-emissions alternative to diesel trains. The trains are built in Salzgitter, Germany by French transport company Alstom, which made the announcement at the InnoTrans trade show last week.

The hydrogen-powered train, called the "Coradia iLint", only leaks excess steam and condensed water into the atmosphere, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to trains that run on diesel fuels. It is powered by lithium ion batteries that obtain their energy from a hydrogen fuel tank on the roof of the train, and has enough power to carry 300 passengers over long distances. There are currently 4,000 diesel trains being operated in Germany; replacing them with the so-called "hydrails" would have positive impacts on the environment. Germany will be the first country to operate this train over long distances, and testing will begin later this year. Once approved, the train will run in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony and be open to the public by December 2017.

hydrorail Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) Although hydrogen-powered trains have already existed for about a decade, the technology has only been used in the freight industry and has not been used to transport passengers.

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany

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