Coradia iLint hydrogen train carried its very first North American passengers on June 17, 2023. The first hydrogen-powered train journey ever on the North American continent transported a hundred passengers on a stretch of the Réseau de Charlevoix railway network – a 90-km (56-mile) route between Parc de la Chute-Montmorency in Quebec City and Baie St-Paul that runs through the UNESCO-listed Charlevoix Biosphere Reserve.
The journey is part of a three-month demonstration project in Canada, driven by French transport multinational Alstom, together with its partners the Government of Quebec, Chemin de fer Charlevoix, Train de Charlevoix, Harnois Énergies, HTEC, and Accelera by Cummins.
The commercial operation of this train will allow Alstom and its partners to better assess the subsequent steps for the development of an ecosystem for hydrogen propulsion technology and its penetration into the North American market.
The Coradia iLint is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that emits only water vapor during operation while ensuring a quieter environment for passengers and those close to the tracks. The train has a top speed of 140 km/h (87 mph) and acceleration and a braking performance comparable to a standard regional diesel train – but without the noise and the emissions.
Coradia iLint stands out for its combination of innovative features: clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries, smart traction, and energy management. It is designed especially for non-electrified lines and allows for safe, clean, and sustainable operations. Alstom reports that a test train managed to travel the record distance of 1,175 kilometers (730 miles) without refueling in September 2022.
The Coradia iLint first entered commercial service in Germany in 2018 and has already traveled more than 220,000 kilometers in eight European countries. The company says European clients have ordered 41 of the trainsets to date.
“We are very proud to see our Coradia iLint hydrogen train onboard and carry its first North American passengers here in Quebec,” said Michael Keroullé, President of Alstom Americas. “Alstom is fully involved in the decarbonization of mobility in the world and particularly in America. Hydrogen technology offers an alternative to diesel and demonstrates our ability to provide more sustainable mobility solutions to our customers, agencies, and operators, as well as passengers. It will also provide an extraordinary showcase for Quebec’s green hydrogen ecosystem, which is under development.”