The vehicle in question is called the Coradia iLint, and was built by the company in Salzgitter, Germany.
The new hydrogen passenger train uses onboard fuel cells for the conversion of H2 into electricity and oxygen. This vehicle operates at zero polluting emissions. The vehicle has undergone a major round of operating testing in Northern Germany, which ran from 2018 into 2020. The iLint train’s successful completion of its testing period has brought it to the point that it will carry real passengers throughout routes with a notable geographic challenge level.
“With its use in regular passenger operations for ÖBB, our innovation train Coradia iLint has reached the next milestone,” explained Alstom CEO in Germany and Austria Dr. Jörg Nikutta, when speaking at the Vienna launch event. “The train’s emission-free drive technology offers a climate-friendly alternative to conventional diesel trains, especially on non-electrified lines. I am particularly pleased that ÖBB, a strong and long-term partner in the European mobility market, is convinced of our technology and its advantages.”
The company’s hydrogen passenger train is viewed as the first step toward broader use.
“We clearly see ourselves as pioneers in testing hydrogen technology on rail,” said ÖBB-Holding AG CEO, Andreas Matthä, when speaking at the train’s inaugural run. “As the largest climate protection company in Austria, we are actively shaping the mobility of the future with technological alternatives.”
The operations tests that started in 2018 began in September. They involved the use of two pre-series vehicles, which started operating in Lower Saxony in Germany along regular passenger lines. Following a year and a half of the trial, which included over 180,000 km (112,000 miles), 14 series trains were cleared for delivery and are set to begin use in 2022.
For now, the Coradia iLint is undergoing its own trial period as the Austrian ÖBB starts the use of the first Alstom hydrogen passenger train on its own regional railway lines in the southern part of Austria. Upon the successful completion of the testing, the vehicles are slated to replace diesel counterparts.