ScotRail train

Hydrogen rail on track for Scotland’s railways

A game-changing project has been launched in hopes of delivering a production-ready hydrogen train in Scotland by November this year.  

A rail consortium and Arcola Energy have been brought together to help deliver the project with the consortium aiming to demonstrate the hydrogen-powered train throughout the COP26 event in Glasgow, later this year.

The project forms part of Scotland’s goal to make its rail network net-zero by 2035.

Arcola and the consortium have been appointed by Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the Hydrogen Accelerator, based at the University of St Andrews, to lead the project.

A key goal for the project is to create opportunities for the Scottish rail supply chain through skill development and industrialisation of the technology.

The project is being supported by Arup and Abbott Risk Consulting to form a combined delivery team and AEGIS, providing regularity third-party verification.

Project partner Arup will use the learnings from the project to develop a roadmap to roll out hydrogen trains to support the decarbonisation of Scotland’s network.

Based at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, the consortium will transform a Class 314 car passenger train, provided by ScotRail, into a deployment-ready and certified platform for hydrogen-powered train development.

Following demonstrations, the train will act as a test-subject for Scottish technology providers and academics as Scottish Enterprise and the Hydrogen Accelerator look into opportunities for Scotland’s hydrogen-enabled low carbon strategy.

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This project has the potential to be a game-changer for the future of Scotland’s rail rolling stock.

“Our Rail decarbonisation Action Plan sets out to make our passenger railways emissions-free by 2035, but to maximise our climate change ambitions, there is also a requirement to look at what we do with the retired stock. If we can bring those back into use in a carbon-neutral way, there are huge climate gains to be made.”

Clare Lavelle, Scotland Energy Business Lead, Arup, said: “This project is not only a crucial step in helping us understand the practical challenges of using hydrogen traction power on our railways but an example of the type of investment Scotland needs to take advantage of the opportunity to build a secure, flexible, cost-effective and zero-carbon energy network.”

Dr Ben Todd, Arcola Energy Chief Executive, said: “The hydrogen train project is an excellent opportunity for industry leaders in hydrogen, rail engineering and safety to collaborate with Scottish technology providers to develop a deployment ready solution.”

Image: Transport Scotland 

RTM Aug/Sept 21

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