French national railway company SNCF said Thursday it has ordered 12 hydrogen-powered trains.
Testing of hydrogen trains on French railways will begin in four regions as early as 2023. In this way, the company plans to contribute to a zero-emissions strategy.
The trains will be built by French industrial group Alstom and run on hydrogen or electricity, the joint statement said. They are designed to run up to 600 kilometers on a single hydrogen charge and “should begin work in 2025,” said Jean-Baptiste Eimaud, head of Alstom France.
The contract is worth €190 million ($225 million) for the first 12 trains, which will carry 218 passengers and will be evenly divided between four regions in the east and south of France.
Alstom first tested prototypes in Germany three years ago and has now started the commercial phase with 41 orders for 72-meter trains. A roof-mounted fuel cell powers the engines.
Today SNCF operates 1,100 diesel-fueled regional express trains, which are scheduled to be decommissioned by 2035. The company is also testing alternative technologies based on green rapeseed fuels. Hydrogen is considered a leader in the race to develop sustainable energy sources and reduce carbon emissions.