Alstom and Eversholt sign UK hydrogen fleet deal

An artist's impresson of what a UK-based hydrogen powered Aventra could look like.

Alstom and leasing company Eversholt are to acquire a fleet of ten three-car hydrogen multiple units, according to a memorandum of understanding signed on 10 November during the COP26 climate change conference.

The fleet will be built in the UK and based on the Aventra platform. Final contracts for the trains are expected to be signed in early 2022. Fuel cells will be roof-mounted and the trains will be solely powered by hydrogen. They could be in service in 2025.

Although there was no operator lined up for the trains at the time the agreement was signed, Alstom says it and Eversholt are talking to potential operators. The companies point out that Network Rail’s Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy concludes hydrogen trains will be required in some parts of the network, and that they will assist operators in preparing business cases for introducing hydrogen-powered trains. 

The two companies jointly developed the converted Class 321 Breeze concept, which they say have given them knowledge and experience to believe there is a market for new hydrogen trains.

Alstom has also introduced the Coradia iLint hydrogen trains into operational service in Germany.