Rail industry body RSSB has appointed Arup to develop a ‘route map to enter service’ for hydrogen-powered trains on the Great Britain (GB) mainline.
The work will involve establishing a high-level operational concept, the associated operational hazards, and regulatory obligations.
The news follows a proposal by UK government to replace all diesel-only trains by 2040. Alongside electrified rail and battery powered trains, the deployment of hydrogen powered trains offers a lower carbon alternative to diesel.
Working closely with manufacturers, regulators, rolling stock owners and train operators, Arup’s work will inform the specific design solutions of hydrogen-powered trains, factoring in operation and safety risks.
The study, which is due to finish in February 2020, will also determine what level of standardisation is needed across the country’s railway system, clarifying the route to market from a safety and compatibility perspective.
Trials of hydrogen-powered trains were included as a commitment by Abellio when it was awarded the East Midlands franchise in August, and several organisations have already developed hydrogen solutions for the UK.
This study will review their readiness to enter operation on the National Rail network, and it means the UK could be in the position to quickly follow in the footsteps of countries like Germany where hydrogen powered trains are already in active service.