Alstom’s Coradia iLint hydrogen-powered train runs for the first time in France

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Alstom’s Coradia iLint train, the first in the world to be powered by hydrogen, took its first turns in France on the tracks of the Centre d’Essais Ferroviaires[1] in Valenciennes (in the north of France) in the presence of Jean-Baptiste Djebarri, French Minister Delegate to the Minister of Ecological Transition, responsible for Transport, and Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud, President of Alstom France.

Alstom teams are running and presenting the Coradia iLint to various local stakeholders including government decision-makers, transport organising authorities, engineering companies and operators to highlight the potential of this train in the range of sustainable transport solutions offered in France.

This presentation is part of the national energy transition ambition, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and noise in transport, a challenge supported by the French government through its Hydrogen Plan, initiated in 2018. This presentation is also part of the French Recovery Plan and of the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) launched by the European Union in 2020.

Alstom, a world leader in green and smart mobility, has been developing a portfolio of zero-emission mobility solutions for several years and has launched an ambitious battery and hydrogen innovation program. Alstom has been working since 2013 on the launch of a regional train equipped with hydrogen fuel cells. The first two 100% H2 iLint trains entered commercial service in 2018 in Germany and, to date, 41 trainsets have been ordered by two German states and successful trials have taken place in Austria, in the Netherlands, in Sweden and now in France. In Italy, the operator FNM confirmed an order for 14 hydrogen-powered trains at the end of 2020. This year, France also joined the circle of “founding countries” with an order from SNCF for 12 Coradia Polyvalent dual-mode trains (electric/catenary and hydrogen/fuel cell traction) for four French regions (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche Comté, Grand Est and Occitanie).

Alstom’s Coradia iLint in Valenciennes, France © Samuel Dhote

Today, Alstom’s ambition is to accelerate its hydrogen strategy and to continue to propose and develop innovative greening solutions. We want to provide public authorities and operators with relevant technical and economic solutions in the context of the phase-out of diesel. In this way, we want to contribute to French and European industrial leadership in this technology of the future,” said Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud, President of Alstom France.

The Coradia iLint is the world’s first passenger train with electric traction powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. This “zero emission” light train is as silent as an electric train and emits only water vapour.

Suitable for use on non-electrified lines, it is an ideal solution for small local lines[2], a strategic mobility issue for the French State and the French Regions. The train is presented today in a German configuration; adaptations will be necessary to approve the Coradia iLint according to French standards. The approval process has been initiated and will be finalised in line with the needs of the Organising Authorities.

France plays a key role in the development of hydrogen mobility solutions. The traction units are designed and manufactured in Alstom’s global green traction centre of excellence, based in Tarbes (in the South-West of France). The recent acquisition of Helion Hydrogen Power, based in Aix-en-Provence (in the South of France), which covers the entire high-power fuel cell value chain, demonstrates Alstom’s commitment to building a hydrogen centre of excellence in France. This new entity will participate in the development of very high-performance hydrogen solutions for heavy mobility, particularly railway.

A trial of the Coradia iLint train on the French rail network will be held in 2022 on the Tours-Loches line, a small local line in the Centre-Val de Loire region.

[1] Railway Testing Centre

[2] also known in French as “Ligne de desserte fine du territoire”

6 September 2021

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