From 2022, 27 fuel cell trains will replace diesel railcars on four regional train lines in the Taunus region. fahma, a subsidiary of the Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (Rhine Main transport authority) opened a Europe-wide tender. It has now been decided that the French manufacturer Alstom will supply the Coradia iLint 54 vehicles by the next timetable change in 2022/2023.

Aside from the trains, the contract includes the supply of hydrogen and the service and maintenance of reserve capacities for the next 25 years. Alstom provides the hydrogen in cooperation with Infraserv GmbH & Co. Höchtst KG. The refuelling station will be located on the premises of the Höchst industrial park.

“The acquisition of 27 vehicles is a fuel cell mobility lighthouse project, which I am very happy about”, says Enak Ferlemann, Parliamentary State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI). “The federal government is supporting this investment in climate-friendly mobility by assuming 40 per cent of vehicle-related extra investment costs which are incurred compared to diesel vehicles, as well as through proportional funding of hydrogen refuelling stations. For the BMVI, the project acts as a model. We hope that many more projects will follow this example in future.” The procurement of trains will be funded within the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NIP 2) in the amount of almost 15 million euros. The construction of hydrogen refuelling stations will be supported with over 9.5 million euros.

“There are still diesel trains in operation in many places on Hesse’s railways today because of a lack of overhead lines. The fuel cell drive therefore, presents an alternative to electrification which can be implemented rapidly”, says Hessian Transport Minister Tarek Al-Wazir. “Transport is responsible for a third of greenhouse gas emissions. Steam instead of diesel soot represents an exciting approach. We will continue to vigorously support the project and do what we can to ensure the necessary modifications to the rail infrastructure regarding the hydrogen refuelling station in Höchst move forward apace.”

“The awarding of this contract sets two records simultaneously: the commissioning of the new vehicles in RMV from 2022 signifies the world’s largest fuel cell train fleet in passenger transport and is the largest contract in the history of our subsidiary fahma”, says RMV Managing Director Prof. Knut Ringat. “Following electrically-operated trains, e-buses and hydrogen buses, we are thus offering our passengers yet another option to travel emission-free. This milestone makes me proud and signifies a giant step towards pollution-free mobility.”
Refuelling in Höchst industrial park

The world’s first passenger train with a fuel cell drive

The Coradia iLint is the first passenger train globally to be operated using a hydrogen fuel cell, which produces electrical energy for the drive. The trains are as quiet as a suburban train and are emission-free locally, as they only emit steam and condensation to its surroundings.

In addition this vehicle type is characterised by several innovations: clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries as well as intelligent management of drive power and available energy in conjunction with corresponding driver assistance systems. Specifically developed for use on non-electrified routes, the Coradia iLint facilitates clean, sustainable train operation while retaining high performance and economic deployment for customers.