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Widnes site central to Alstom’s hydrogen train project

Alstom has confirmed plans to bring its hydrogen technology to trains in the UK, with its Widnes site central to the project.

Work to convert existing electric trains to hydrogen operation will take place at the company’s state-of-the-art North West facility.

The company is working with Eversholt Rail to upcycles Class 321 electric trains to hydrogen operation by fitting hydrogen tanks and fuel cells.

Alstom says this is the first substantive industry response to the government’s challenge to remove diesel rolling stock by 2040.

Nick Crossfield, managing director of Alstom UK & Ireland, says: “The potential for hydrogen trains is enormous.

“Not only are hydrogen trains zero carbon, they are near-silent and emit no particulates, which means they offer substantial air quality and noise pollution benefits too.”

The Coradia iLint (pictured) is the first Alstom hydrogen train, on test already in Germany.

Nearly a third of all the UK’s trains are diesel trains, which will need to be replaced or refurbished to hit the Government’s target of no diesel rail vehicles by 2040.

Hydrogen can be produced using sustainable electricity and electrolysis or through industrial processes.

Alstom’s regional MD, Piers Wood, shared the firm’s plans for its Widnes site in an interview with Move Commercial earlier this year.