Thursday 1 October 2020

Netherlands: ProRail happy with ambition for Groningen’s first hydrogen train

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Good news from Groningen: in cooperation with ProRail, the Dutch province took the initiative to organise a successful trial with a hydrogen train. The results are so promising that the province and stakeholders involved are keen to use hydrogen trains for future expansion or modification of the railways in Groningen.

Successful trial
The trial took place at Leeuwarden-Groningen in early 2020, on what is normally a diesel route. The hydrogen train was extensively tested for two weeks. Test runs took place at night, using a passenger train but without passengers.

Several tests
The stop and express train timetable was tested several times. The train ran according to schedule, with no problems in terms of fuel consumption, acceleration and braking. Refuelling with (green) hydrogen was faster than expected and was performed safely. The hydrogen train turned out to be almost 50% quieter than the current diesel train.

The main results from the trial with the passenger train can be found in the “Feasibility Study Hydrogen Train Groningen” report. The province and stakeholders involved aim to run the trains in the northern Netherlands with zero emissions. The hydrogen train offers an effective means of meeting environmental requirements without the need for major investment in overhead lines.

Public day
The public was offered the opportunity to come and see the hydrogen train during the trial period as a way of publicising it as a zero-emission solution. The public day on March 7 generated a great deal of interest.

The province of Groningen – the initiators of the trial – and ProRail worked together with Arriva (transport company), Engie (supplier of green hydrogen and refuelling installation), Alstom (supplier of the hydrogen train) and DEKRA (independent testing organisation).

(Source: ProRail)

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Minister Van Veldhoven together with partners such as ProRail COO Ans Rietstra in the cabin of the test train © ProRail
The hydrogen train during a test night
The hydrogen train during a test drive