Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Stadler’s hydrogen-powered passenger train sets a distance record

Stadler’s FLIRT H2 has set a new Guinness World Record for the longest distance of 1,741.7 miles (2,803 kilometers) traveled by a pilot hydrogen fuel cell electric multiple unit passenger train without refueling or recharging. This achievement underlines Stadler’s commitment to sustainable rail transport and its innovative strength in the field.

Constant efforts are being made to clean up dirty trains, with heavy investment in electrifying networks across the world, and battery-electric locomotives like the FLXDrive and the Flirt Akku are being rolled out.

The Flirt Akku, the battery-powered FLIRT model made by Stadler Rail AG, set a Guinness World Record in December 2021 for the longest pre-charge battery-only journey of 224 kilometers in Germany. This was achieved on a route between Berlin and Warnemünde during a freezing local winter, which is quite impressive considering that the train was designed with an operational per-charge range of 80 km.

Not all rail networks can support electrification, and relying solely on battery power may not be feasible for long-haul transportation of goods or people. However, hydrogen-powered trains have the potential to transform the industry by enabling extended journeys without harmful emissions.

In fact, Stadler has recently unveiled the Flirt H2 passenger model at InnoTrans 2022 in Berlin, and it’s currently being tested in Switzerland. This innovative train is specifically designed to replace diesel-powered trains on non-electrified or partially electrified networks. It features two motor-driven end cars with a hydrogen tank and fuel cells in between. The fuel cells supply energy to an onboard battery, which then powers the electric drive.

The Flirt H2, originally built for California’s San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, has a high top speed of 127 km/h (79 mph) and a range of 460 km (286 miles) per refueling stop. And now, the train has set a new record by traveling 2,803 km (1741.7 miles) for over 46 hours on one tank of hydrogen.

The world record journey started on the evening of March 20, 2024, when the train set out for its first laps around the test track. With this, Stadler’s FLIRT H2 officially holds the world record for the longest distance traveled by a hydrogen-powered passenger train without refueling or recharging. The test was conducted at the ENSCO test center in Pueblo, Colorado, where the vehicle underwent its type test procedure.

“This world record establishes the ideal performance range of our hydrogen version of the best-selling FLIRT Electric Multiple Unit, the FLIRT H2. This is a monumental achievement from our entire team, and we are very proud to hold another record title,” said Dr. Ansgar Brockmeyer, EVP of Marketing and Sales at Stadler.

In addition to a recent order of further hydrogen FLIRT for California, Stadler is contracted to now supply a total of 15 hydrogen-powered vehicles in Italy.