Updated Oct 5, 2020

First hydrogen-powered train starts UK trial

On Wednesday 30 September, HydroFLEX, the first-ever UK hydrogen-powered train ran on the UK mainline in its first trial journey.

These trials see the cumulation of nearly two years of development work and over £1 million investment from the University of Birmingham and Porterbrook. The Department for Transport has also supported the project with a £750,000 grant.

The train was developed by fitting a hydrogen pack to an existing train chassis. Not only is this the UK's first hydrogen-powered train, it is also the world's first bi-mode electric hydrogen train.

It is anticipated that the technology being used will be available by 2023, and could be used to retrofit current trains to be hydrogen-powered. This would help to decarbonise the rail network across the UK, making journeys by train a greener option for travellers.

The next part of the trial will see the development of hydrogen and battery-powered module that fits underneath the train carriage, to allow more space for passengers.