Germany Plans Fuel Cell Trains

French rail company Alstom SA has signed a contract to build 14 fuel cell-powered trains for the Local Transport Authority of Lower Saxony, Germany.

The hydrogen-fueled trains, which will replace conventional diesel units, will begin commercial service in late 2021 with service along the region’s Cuxhaven-Bremerhaven-Bremervörde-Buxtehude corridor. The Coradia iLint fuel cell trains are based on Alstom’s Coradia articulated railcar.  


Alstom began testing a prototype model earlier this year at the company’s test track in Salzgitter, Germany. Working with local transport authorities, Alstom will launch a public pilot program with two iLint trains next year.

The vehicles will have a top speed of 87 mph and can travel 1,000 km (621 miles) on a tank of hydrogen. Linde Group will build several hydrogen stations along the route to supply the trains. The hydrogen eventually will be produced via electrolysis and wind energy.

The program will be funded by Germany’s Transportation Ministry and other federal agencies.