The train of the future will be driven with hydrogen, will run completely emission-free and will start its first passenger service in Lower Saxony. It is called “Coradia iLint” and is built by rail manufacturer Alstom for the Local Transport Authority of Lower Saxony (Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen, LNVG). A total of 14 fuel cell trains will be built at the Salzgitter site and are scheduled to convey travelers between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude from December 2021.
The new trains will replace the diesel multiple units of the transport authority Elbe-Weser-Verkehrsbetriebe (evb) and will reduce the pollutant emission in daily service to zero. The supply of the train with hydrogen will be ensured by an own filling station of The Linde Group. The Coradia iLint can cover up to 1,000 kilometers with one tank fill, and can reach a maximum speed of up to 140 km/h. The prototype will take up pilot operation in the evb network in spring 2018 together with a second vehicle.
Olaf Lies, Economy and Transport Minister of Lower Saxony, said: “From now on there will be a real alternative to diesel trains in non-electrified rail transport. Hydrogen and fuel cells are an ideal combination for climate protection as well as for the energy and transport revolution. They allow the storage of energy and emission-free travelling on rail. We fund innovative technologies and make a sustainable contribution to the energy revolution in the transport sector.”
Gian Luca Erbacci, Senior Vice President for Europe at Alstom, said: “This day represents a real breakthrough in rail transportation and a big step change towards a clean mobility system. For the first time worldwide, a hydrogen-fueled passenger regional train will replace diesel trains, generating zero emission with the same performance as a regular regional train and up to 1,000 km autonomy. Alstom is very proud to have developed its Coradia iLint train in Salzgitter, Lower Saxony.”
The guarantee of a reliable and secure supply of energy is one of the prerequisites for a successful use of fuel cell trains. Linde will provide for the hydrogen supply of the new fuel cell trains and will therefore erect and operate the worldwide first hydrogen filling station for trains in Bremervörde. The necessary investment costs will be estimated at around 10 million euros funded by the Federal Government. LNVG will rent the premises for the filling station from evb and will make it available to Linde AG, which will also be responsible for the operation and construction permit.