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Sustainability of mobility and infrastructure

Hydrogen trains

The province of Groningen, ProRail, the national government and Arriva aim to have trains in the Northern Netherlands run without emissions and on sustainably produced fuel. Various tests have shown that this can best be done with green hydrogen for the regional train services in Groningen.

Waterstoftrein Coradia iLint bij opening met minister

Pilot hydrogen train

In March 2020, the Province of Groningen, Arriva, ProRail, Alstom and Engie carried out a pilot involving driving a hydrogen train. This was the first time that a train ran on hydrogen in the Netherlands. With this pilot, the five organizations involved wanted to gather more practical experience. The province and the parties involved aim to have the trains run in the Northern Netherlands with zero emissions (without environmentally harmful emissions). The hydrogen train is a good option to meet this requirement, without having to make major investments in overhead lines.

Testing the timetable and hydrogen refueling

The performance of Alstom’s hydrogen train ‘Coradia iLint’ was tested on the track between Groningen and Leeuwarden. The tests with the hydrogen train were carried out at night. The train was running without passengers. The stop and express train timetable was tested several times. Refueling with hydrogen was also tested within a timetable. How does this work and how does this affect the times of the current timetable? Finally, it was investigated what is required to obtain permission to run a hydrogen train on the railways in the Northern Netherlands in the regular timetable.

Results first pilot

These first test runs have proven that there are zero-emission trains that can already run in the Northern Netherlands. During the tests, the train ran according to the timetable. Fuel consumption, acceleration and braking went without any problems. Refueling with (green) hydrogen went faster than expected and can be carried out safely. A hydrogen train also turned out to be almost 50% quieter than the current diesel train. For travelers and local residents, the hydrogen trains are a cleaner and quieter way of public transport. The conclusion is that the hydrogen train can be a fully-fledged alternative to the current diesel trains.

View the reports with the results of the first pilot at the bottom of this page.

The future of hydrogen trains in the Northern Netherlands

The plan is that travelers will be able to travel with the first four hydrogen trains on the Groningen regional railway from the end of 2027. The trains will then be used on the existing Delfzijl-Groningen-Veendam routes and occasionally also on the other railway lines in Groningen and in the direction of Leer. The province and Arriva also want to use the trains for future expansion or modification of the railway in Groningen, for example on the planned railway line Veendam – Stadskanaal.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is making € 15 million available as a contribution towards the costs of four hydrogen trains. With this, the government shows that it considers it important to invest in making public transport on its railway lines more sustainable. In addition to the government grant for the four trains, Europe (CINEA) is contributing € 5.8 million and the National Program Groningen (NPG) is contributing € 7 million. The government has also awarded a contribution of € 5 million for a hydrogen refueling installation.


The results of the first pilot can be found in the attached reports.

Photo taken by Stefan Verkerk – ProRail

This project was made possible in part thanks to a contribution from the EU project G-PaTRA (Interreg).