Alstom and UK-based rolling stock operating company, Eversholt Rail, have unveiled the design of new hydrogen train for the UK market. The train, codenamed Breeze, will be a conversion of existing Class 321 trains, reengineering some of the UK’s rolling stock. These trains could run across the UK as early as 2022, emitting only water and zero harmful emissions.
The rolling stock conversion will be carried out by Alstom, working in partnership with Eversholt Rail and building upon an established business relationship spanning over 15 years and across multiple rolling stock fleets. The Class 321 is an excellent fit in terms of characteristics, fleet size and availability for conversion to a Hydrogen Multiple Unit (HMU), according to Alstom.
Alstom and Eversholt Rail are working closely with industry stakeholders to develop the business cases and evaluate detailed introduction plans for fleets of these innovative trains and the associated fuelling infrastructure. Alstom and Eversholt Rail also confirmed that their initial, comprehensive engineering study is now complete, and the train design concept finalised. The innovative technical solution defined is the first to allow a hydrogen train to fit within the standard UK loading gauge, and it will also create more space for passengers than the trains they are intended to replace.
The Alstom facility in Widnes will manage the conversion of the Breeze trains, creating high quality engineering jobs in this new, emerging sector.
The news follows the introduction in September of Alstom’s Coradia iLint hydrogen trains in Germany, where they now operate in regular passenger service on a daily basis. There is growing interest in Alstom’s hydrogen technology worldwide, including in France where the President of the Occitanie region, Carole Delga, recently announced a proposal to introduce the technology on trains there.