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ORAC 7th Jan 2019 05:51

Hydrogen Trains

As an aside, for all bad press hydrogen as a fuel has a good history - including the Hindenburg. If there is an accident it dissipates rapidly upwards leaving a low fire risk, hence the fuel tanks on the German train bring in the roof (as it was in the proposed “double decker” prototype hydrogen fuelled aircraft).


Full steam ahead for hydrogen trains

Hydrogen trains will be introduced in as little as two years under ambitious plans to phase out dirty diesel engines.

The Times has learnt that a deal has been struck to convert more than 100 trains into the first fleet powered by hydrogen fuel cell technology. The trains, which are almost silent and have zero emissions, will operate at speeds of up to 90mph and release steam only as a by-product. The new trains, which will be called “Breeze”, will be employed on commuter and suburban lines by early 2021.

The Department for Transport is supporting the plan because it allows operators to scrap diesel trains without the need to install hugely expensive overhead power lines that are needed to operate electric carriages. It has set a target of eradicating diesel altogether from the network by 2040.......

Alstom, the French multinational, is leading the project alongside Eversholt Rail, the rolling stock company. It has identified an Eversholt-owned fleet of Class 321 electric trains for the project. The trains were built by British Rail in 1988 and are used on the Greater Anglia network. They will be phased out next year when the conversion to hydrogen power will start. Alstom has already built an entirely new hydrogen train — the first of its kind in the world — in Germany, with passenger services starting in September.

New images released by Alstom show that the existing four-carriage 321s will be reduced to three as part of the conversion process, which will be carried out at the company’s plant in Widnes, Cheshire. The front and rear third of the train will be used to house hydrogen gas storage tanks. On the German train the hydrogen is stored on the roof but tanks will be shifted in the British model because of the greater physical constraints of the Victorian-built rail network in Britain.

Alstom said that the new trains could accelerate quicker than diesel engines and were cheaper to maintain. Just over 100 class 321s will be converted, depending on the order book. It will be the first time anywhere in the world that an existing train fleet has been converted in this way.

Alstom said that it was in advanced talks with the Department for Transport and train companies with a view to securing orders for the trains, enabling them to start production early next year. Although the company refused to be drawn on the destination of the new trains, it is believed that they could be used on unelectrified lines in the northwest or northeast.......


GordonR_Cape 7th Jan 2019 06:06

Sounds like an early April Fools joke IMO.

Apart from some of the journalistic inaccuracies and hyperbole, there is a long history of 'trials' of this kind of technology: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrail

UniFoxOs 7th Jan 2019 06:19

have zero emissions
and the hydrogen is produced without emissions and transported to the train depot how?

ceeb 7th Jan 2019 06:40

Originally Posted by UniFoxOs (Post 10353907)
and the hydrogen is produced without emissions and transported to the train depot how?


Modular hydrogen generators at depots maybe?

Fareastdriver 7th Jan 2019 07:50

The cab's not a good place to be in on a head-on.

Chesty Morgan 7th Jan 2019 08:20

Is it ever?

Sallyann1234 7th Jan 2019 08:29

New images released by Alstom show that the existing four-carriage 321s will be reduced to three as part of the conversion process,
That will be SO popular with the commuters.

treadigraph 7th Jan 2019 08:36

Sounds like a load of hot air to me...

Economics101 7th Jan 2019 09:09

Given that overcrowding and lack of capacity are a huge problem for Britain's railways, reducing 4-car formations to 3-car is just brilliant. Another "failing Grayling" product?

ORAC 7th Jan 2019 09:25

The Pacer and Sprinters they will, presumably, replace are only 2-3 carriage sets, so it should provide the capacity.

Sallyann1234 7th Jan 2019 09:33

A hydrogen tank sitting directly over an electrical traction system. What could possibly go wrong?

ChrisVJ 7th Jan 2019 09:42

Just off the top of my head I think I would rather put the tanks in the middle of he train where they would be safer in a head on. We had a very expensive fleet of hydrogen buses but they were taken off the road and replaced with diesel as soon as the contract allowed, having cost the provincial government a few gazillions in subsidy in the meantime.

ORAC 7th Jan 2019 10:28

It’s no more dangerous than diesel, in fact far less because it dissipates so quickly and you can’t get a sustained fire.


tescoapp 7th Jan 2019 10:33

Agreed ORAC the lithium batteries going up after a crash would be far more difficult to deal with.

Traffic_Is_Er_Was 7th Jan 2019 12:08

Oh, the humanity!!

Danny G 7th Jan 2019 12:20

Originally Posted by UniFoxOs https://www.pprune.org/images/buttons/viewpost.gifand the hydrogen is produced without emissions and transported to the train depot how?
Hydrogen Powered Trucks !

Economics101 7th Jan 2019 13:11

I might see some point in converting Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) to Hydrogen, but it says the class 321 are EMUs. Surely the thing to do is to maximise the amount of electricity from clean/renewable sources and leave them as EMUs. More fundamentally, the UK has a disgracefully low amount of electrified railway, and this needs to be remedied. I'm not optimistic given the huge cost over-runs on projects such as the GWR electrification. All this using existing proven technology.
A few capable engineers from almost any continental country could perhaps show how it's done.

ORAC 7th Jan 2019 13:18

I think the point here is the lines they want to run them on aren’t electrified and the expense of electrifying would be prohibitive. Changing a diesel set to electric would be impossible as the entire drive mechanism is different. Installing a hydrogen fuel cell and tank to an electric set merely changes the electricity source for the motors.

Sallyann1234 7th Jan 2019 13:19

Well there's 100 billion plus available for electrification if HS2 could be scrapped.

ORAC 7th Jan 2019 13:34

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