This first national order contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and noise, an issue supported by the French State through its Hydrogen plan.
SNCF has placed an order with Alstom, on behalf of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Grand Est and Occitanie regions, for the first 12 French hydrogen trains, the first tests of which are announced at the end of 2023.
These dual-mode trains will be able to run under catenaries on electrified lines and in hydrogen mode with a range of up to 600 km on non-electrified lines, without polluting, stakeholders said Thursday in a press release.
Alstom France President Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud considers “the first track tests at the end of 2023, and a priori commercial commissioning in 2025».
The contract for Alstom amounts to 190 million euros for 12 trainsets. It provides for the supply of three trains to each of the four pioneer regions, to which two could be added as an option for the Grand Est.
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41 orders to date
Alstom will concretely install a hydrogen power train on a model proven in French TER (called Coradia Polyvalent by the national manufacturer and Regiolis by the SNCF): 72 meters long, these four-car trains will offer 218 seats “and the same dynamic performance and comfort as the dual-mode electric-diesel version“, According to the press release.
The regions, which finance the trains, are taking advantage of a framework contract that has existed since 2011 to buy trainsets, via the SNCF.
Alstom is a pioneer in the hydrogen train, with technology developed at its Tarbes plant. It circulated its first prototypes in Germany in 2018 and has now entered an industrial phase there, with 41 orders to date.
«An additional step towards 0 emissions»
These trains mix the hydrogen on board and the oxygen present in the ambient air, thanks to a fuel cell installed in the roof which produces the electricity necessary for the traction of the train. They only release water vapor.
«It is a further step towards + zero emissions + in public rail transport», Noted Christophe Fanichet, CEO of SNCF Voyageurs.
Nearly 1,100 TER currently use diesel, which SNCF wants to get rid of by 2035. The company is also testing various formulas using batteries and fuels “vertsLike rapeseed.