Hydrogen Train Test Runs Deemed a Success in the Netherlands

The trial runs of the Coradia iLint hydrogen train that have been taking place in the Netherlands have been called a success by the Province of Groningen. Consequently, the province wants to use hydrogen trains for future services in Groningen, including into Germany.

The Province of Groningen has published a report in which is presents the results of the Coradia iLint tests that were conducted over two weeks in March 2020 over 65km of track between Groningen and Leeuwarden. The tests were designed to examine if hydrogen fuel cell trains could be a sustainable alternative to the diesel trains that currently run in the northern Netherlands.

The train, which was manufactured by Alstom, was tested in collaboration with the Province of Groningen operator Arriva, ProRail (infrastructure manager) and the energy company Engie (which supplied the green hydrogen and the refuelling infrastructure). The independent testing and certification body DEKRA was the test leader. There were no passengers on board the train during the tests.

Alstom's Coradia iLint hydrogen train
Alstom’s Coradia iLint hydrogen train

4 Objectives

According to the report, the Coradia iLint has met the four intended objectives:

  • authorisation by the Dutch National Safety Assessor to run on the Dutch rail network
  • fully zero emission and suited to the commercial service of the current timetable
  • quick and easy refuelling
  • familiarisation of the public to hydrogen technology in transport
Bernard Belvaux, Managing Director, Alstom Benelux, said:

“After Germany, the Netherlands is the second country in Europe where the Alstom’s hydrogen train has proven itself a unique emissions-free solution for non-electrified lines. The tests have demonstrated how our hydrogen train is mature in terms of availability and reliability, providing the same performance as diesel equipment, and with the benefit of low noise and zero emissions. The Coradia iLint hydrogen train supports the transition towards global sustainable transport systems.”

The tests looked at running the train on a stop timetable (all stations) and an express timetable. Hydrogen consumption, infrastructure compatibility, acceleration, braking, docking, maximal speed, performance of the auxiliaries and all operations went smoothly.

The hydrogen train causes less noise pollution than its diesel counterparts (50 percent reduction) and the refuelling process was pleasantly quick. The train was also popular with the Dutch drivers.

The Province of Groningen concluded that hydrogen trains would be a good way of achieving zero-emission trains without having to invest in overhead lines.

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