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Scotland’s First Hydrogen Powered Train

Image of Scotrail carriage loaded onto a truck, on its way to Bo-Ness, travelling past The Kelpies at Grangemouth, Forth & Clyde Canal on 18th Dec 2020 (Image courtesy of Scottish Enterprise).

The Scottish Government, as part of its rail decarbonisation strategy which was published earlier this year, has set a target of 2035 to remove of diesel passenger trains from the Scottish rail network.  The Hydrogen Accelerator, in partnership with Transport Scotland and Scottish Enterprise are responsible for a project to convert a ScotRail Class 314 to a fuel cell electric train.  This will demonstrate a green alternative to fossil fuels for lines that cannot be electrified.

Over the next 11 months the project will be undertaken by an industry consortium led by Arcola Energy who are specialists in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.  Their partners on this project are Arup, Abbott Risk Consulting, and AEGIS.

Not only with this project demonstrate the feasibility to convert existing rolling stock from diesel to electric fuel cell, it will also bring skills necessary for the future of the rail industry to Scotland.  The Scottish economy and business will also benefit as high skilled jobs are created and the local supply chain develops.

The modified train will be showcased at the prestigious COP26 (26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties) from 1-12th November on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Heritage Railway.

Professor John Irvine said: “The aim of this project is not just to develop a new low carbon approach that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions and improve air quality, it is also to develop skills and create new supply chain opportunities.  If we are to address climate change we need to combine disruptive new technologies like hydrogen trains and offshore wind energy with new capabilities and an agile new workforce, delivering on both climate and employment.”