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Hydrogen-powered trains begin German passenger service

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Alstom has announced that the world’s first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, is now being used on the world premiere 100% hydrogen train route in Bremervörde, Lower Saxony, Germany, in passenger operation. This regional train emits only steam and condensed water while operating with a low level of noise. The 14 vehicles with fuel cell propulsion belong to Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG). LNVG had already started looking for alternatives to diesel trains in 2012, which provided momentum for the development of the trains in Germany.

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On the route between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, 14 hydrogen-powered Alstom regional trains will gradually replace 15 diesel trains. They will be fuelled daily and around the clock at the Linde hydrogen filling station. Thanks to a range of 1,000 kilometers (approx. 621 miles), the Alstom multiple units of the Coradia iLint model, which are emission-free in operation, can run all day long on just one tank of hydrogen on the evb network.

Despite numerous electrification projects in several countries, a significant part of Europe’s rail network will remain non-electrified in the long term. In many countries, the number of diesel trains in circulation is still high, with more than 4,000 cars in Germany, for instance.

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Alstom currently has four contracts for hydrogen fuel cell-powered regional trains. Two are in Germany, the first for 14 Coradia iLint trains in the region of Lower Saxony, and the second for 27 Coradia iLint trains in the Frankfurt metropolitan area. The third contract comes from Italy where Alstom is building six Coradia Stream hydrogen trains in the region of Lombardy, with the option for eight more, while the fourth is in France for 12 Coradia Polyvalent hydrogen trains shared across four different French regions.

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