Extra £1m invested in UK Breeze hydrogen-powered trains
In 2019, the firms unveiled the design of a new hydrogen train for the UK market. Named ‘Breeze’, the train is a conversion of existing Class 321 trains, re-engineering some of the UK’s ‘most reliable rolling stock’ to create a clean train for the modern age.
On 13 August, the companies announced a “bold plan” to fast-track the hydrogen train industry by creating an entirely new class of train – the first-ever 600 series. Taking the Breeze hydrogen train to the next level, this additional investment means the Breeze train will be ready for deployment in the UK to meet the government’s need to decarbonise the rail industry.
The train will run on green hydrogen derived from renewable sources. The trains offer “true zero-emission mobility”, say the companies, not just zero-emission at point of use. Eversholt Rail and Alstom’s investment will underpin other initiatives in the hydrogen sector, and support any subsequent national hydrogen strategy, according to the firms.
Breeze trains will be built at Alstom’s Widnes Transport Technology Centre. Widnes will also become Alstom’s worldwide centre of excellence for hydrogen conversion when this project is in series production, creating over 200 engineering jobs in north-west England.
“It’s time to jump-start the UK hydrogen revolution,” said Nick Crossfield, managing director of Alstom, UK & Ireland. “With the government looking to invest in green technologies, Alstom and Eversholt Rail have deepened our already extensive commitment to this job-creating technology with a further £1 million (€1.1 million) investment.
“This bold move to back the government’s ambitions on hydrogen means we are the only game in town if you want a shovel-ready UK hydrogen train. The Breeze is good to go, wherever the government commits to upgrading the UK’s railway with hydrogen trains.”
Mary Kenny, CEO of Eversholt Rail, added: “Eversholt Rail has a proud record of innovation in key rolling stock technologies and this further investment in the Breeze programme demonstrates our commitment to providing timely, cost-effective solutions to the identified need for hydrogen trains to support the decarbonisation of the UK railway.”