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Sustainability of mobility and infrastructure

Pilot hydrogen train

The province of Groningen, Arriva, ProRail, Alstom and Engie conducted a trial in March 2020 with a hydrogen train. This was the first time that a train ran on hydrogen in the Netherlands. The five organizations involved want to gain more practical experience with this pilot. The province and the parties involved aim to run the trains in the northern Netherlands with zero emissions (without environmentally harmful emissions). The hydrogen train is a good way to meet this requirement, without having to make major investments in catenary systems.

Testing of timetable and hydrogen refuelling

The performance was tested of Alstom’s hydrogen train “Coradia iLint” on the track between Groningen and Leeuwarden. The tests with the hydrogen train were carried out at night. The train ran without passengers. The stop and express train timetables were tested several times. The refuelling of hydrogen within a train timetable was also tested. 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 railway in the northern Netherlands in the regular timetable.

Results of the first pilot and follow-up

With these first test runs, it has been proven that there are zero emission trains that can already be operated in the Northern Netherlands. During the tests, the train ran according to schedule. Fuel consumption, acceleration and braking went smoothly. Refuelling with (green) hydrogen went faster than expected and can be performed safely. A hydrogen train also turned out to be nearly 50% quieter than the current diesel train. The conclusion is that the hydrogen train can be a fully-fledged alternative to the current diesel trains. Groningen wants to be the first province to use hydrogen trains on regional railway lines and has the ambition to let new trains run on hydrogen from 2023 on.


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

Photo made by Stefan Verkerk – ProRail