Alstom has received its first orders for hydrogen trains in France. On behalf of four regions, the national railway company SNCF has ordered the first twelve trains developed by Alstom, which run on both the overhead contact line and on hydrogen. The order is worth almost 190 million euros.
Specifically, the SNCF subsidiary SNCF Voyageurs acts on behalf of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Grand Est and Occitanie regions. Three of the trains are to be used in each region. In addition to the twelve units, the contract concluded with Alstom also includes the option of two more train sets that would then be used in Grand Est.
As for the schedule, test drives are planned from 2023 and commercial service drives from 2025. The trains are used on the regional express routes Montréjeau-Luchon (Occitanie), Clermont-Ferrand-Lyon (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Auxerre-Laroche-Migennes (Bourgogne-Franche-Comté). The Grand Est region has not yet specified the location of its future trains.
The rail vehicles for France are hydrogen trains based on Alstom’s regional train platform Coradia Polyvalent, which are known domestically under the name “Régiolis”. According to Alstom, around 400 Coradia Polyvalent with dual-mode electric-diesel or fully electric drive have been ordered within France since 2011. Alstom uses “Dual Mode” to describe the property of being able to obtain fuel from the overhead line as well as from a source on board. With the hydrogen variant – also a dual-mode train – Alstom is now expanding its portfolio. In addition to the above-mentioned order, according to the manufacturer, aOther French regions have meanwhile expressed their interest in participating in a second phase of the project.
According to Alstom, the Coradia Polyvalent H2 has an autonomy of up to 600 kilometers on non-electrified railway lines. As a four-part train with a length of 72 meters, it has a capacity of 218 seats and has “the same dynamic performance and the level of comfort of the dual-mode electric-diesel version”, according to an accompanying press release. Alstom does not get any more precise at this point.
The FC drive technology will be taken over by the Coradia Polyvalent from the Coradia iLint developed for Germany. Alstom is already doing the same for an order from Italy. The FC technology from the Coradia iLint will also be found in the Coradia Stream models there. “Alstom is the world’s first rail technology company to bring a hydrogen train to market and to master this technology with the iLint train developed for the German market, ”says Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud, President of Alstom in France. “This new order for the French market is fully in line with the Alstom Group’s objective of becoming number one in the market for green and smart mobility and supporting the introduction of an efficient hydrogen ecosystem in our regions.”
As a home market, France naturally has a special role. The development and production of Coradia Polyvalent trains secure more than 2,000 jobs in France for Alstom and its suppliers, the press release said. Six of Alstom’s 15 locations in France are involved in the project: Reichshoffen (Bas-Rhin) for design and manufacture, Ornans (Doubs) for engines, Le Creusot (Saône-et-Loire) for bogies, Tarbes (Hautes-Pyrénées) for drive chains, Villeurbanne (Rhône) for on-board electronics and Saint-Ouen (Seine-Saint-Denis) for design.
Those involved in the project will get their backs from the French government, which in 2020 will be a cross-sectoral one Had adopted the hydrogen roadmap. “France has everything it takes to become a hydrogen champion: the French government is determined to make this a reality,” said Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, Minister Associate for Transport, French Ministry for the Ecological Transition, on the occasion the H2 train order. According to him, the government will cover € 47 million of the development costs for France’s first hydrogen-powered regional train.