A Swiss-locomotive builder has agreed to deliver California’s first line of emission-free trains.
- The state of California and its railway transportation agencies purchased its first hydrogen-powered trains on Tuesday from the Swiss railroad developer Stadler.
- The move is part of the state’s goal of making intercity railway travel 100% emissions-free by 2035.
- The Stadler trains will be the first hydrogen-powered trains in the United States.
- The first units will be deployed in San Bernardino in 2024 and then in the Central Valley between Sacramento and Merced in 2027.
- “Stadler, the California State Transportation Agency, and the California Department of Transportation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the design and delivery of… four-car Flirt trains for California at InnoTrans on September 20,” says railroading website Railway Age.
- “Stadler’s goal is to help make travel in North America environmentally-friendly through the vehicles and services we provide… It is great to be part of California’s move toward eco-friendly travel with another zero emission project in the state and we look forward to continuing our work with CalSTA and CalTrans to make this a reality,” says Stadler CEO Martin Ritter.
Why it’s important
America is following in Europe’s footsteps of converting diesel-electric trains with clean hydrogen trains. California is at the forefront of the United State’s push for green energy and is looking to use public transportation to meet its climate reduction goals.
As we reported previously, French manufacturer Alstom deployed the first of its planned hydrogen trains in Germany earlier this month—the first of 14 passenger trains, making the Bremervörde, Lower Saxony route the first fully hydrogen-powered train service.
Alsom has already sold locomotives in other countries including Austria, Poland, Sweden, and the Netherlands, reports CNN. Other German cities like Frankfurt have already ordered 27 units, the Lombardy region of Italy has ordered six, and France has ordered 12 to use in four regions.
As Europe transitions further into Green energy, these trains will help fill a major hole in infrastructure. A significant portion of Europe’s railways have not yet been electrified and depend on diesel-powered trains.
America will need to make similarly major efforts to replace the over 38,000 diesel locomotives operated by major rail companies.