I lived in Redlands, California and its neighboring city Mentone for several years so this story hits home for me. I now live 30 minutes away so you can bet I’ll be “all aboard” when this comes to fruition.
Now Let’s Talk Hydrogen Trains …
Zero emission locomotives have been in operation in Asia and Germany, and one will soon be landing in Redlands, California. A Swiss rail manufacturer known as Stadler was recently given a contract by San Bernardino County Transportation Authority. The contract entails building a hydrogen-powered train (hydrail).
The $23 million contract will cover manufacturing, as well as research and development expenses. The train will be the first of its kind in the US, but there’s a possibility that Stadler will deliver four more trains in the near future.
The train, which is a FLIRT H2, is expected to be delivered in 2023 and start its operations in 2024. The Zero Emission Modular Unit is being built under the Redlands Rail Project.
The project will connect Redlands to San Bernardino’s Metrolink station. The nine-mile corridor is expected to have four stations, which will include downtown Redlands.
The train is expected to be moving at a speed of up to 80 mph. It will be carrying about 108 passengers and it will have extra standing room.
Every year, San Bernardino Transit Center has more than 14 million boardings, which helps to connect passengers to various destinations including Orange County, LAX, Los Angeles Union Station, as well as to a number of beaches.
Electric rail transportation in Redlands ceased operating in 1937 and the return of this zero emissions, fuel cell locomotive will certainly mark its grand and upgraded return. The train will consist of two cars which will be separated by a power pack (hydrogen fuel cell, H2 tanks, electric motors).
According to the words of SBCTA President Darcy McNaboe, “Implementing innovative solutions like this first-of-its-kind passenger train is an excellent example of how we are demonstrating our commitment to the next generation in San Bernardino County. The hydrogen FLIRT will help us address the commuting needs of today while preserving our environment for a better tomorrow.”
Martin Ritter, CEO of Stadler U.S inc goes ahead to state that, “Stadler is committed to designing and building green technology for the transportation industry. We are delighted that SBCTA shares our enthusiasm for this goal. We have had a great relationship with SBCTA so far and it is a great honor to bring the first hydrogen-powered train to the United States as their partners.”
This is certainly not the first contract betweeen Stadler and SBCTA. Stadler started collaborating with SBCTA in 2017, when SBCTA submitted an order for three diesel-electric multiple unit (DMU) FLIRT.
It is expected that the three diesel-electric multiple unit (DMU)) will operate in the Arrow Passenger Rail Service which will connect Redlands to the San Bernardino Metrolink.
Having said that, the fuel cell train will be manufactured and assembled in Switzerland. Once it is completed, type-testing will take place in Europe, after which it will be delivered.
A Thank You in Closing …
I’m sure that my compatriot, Stan Thompson will be all over this event in the weeks, months and years to come as he has helped greatly in bringing awareness of the benefits of hydrail (and he even coined the term “hydrail”) to not only the United States but the world, in general. Many thanks Stan for your valiant efforts!
Hydrogen-powered train coming to Redlands – https://www.redlandscommunitynews.com/news/hydrogen-powered-train-coming-to-redlands/article_ae71ad26-070a-11ea-a865-df85a2bf45a0.html
SBCTA: First U.S. Hydrogen Fuel Cell MU – https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/light-rail/sbcta-first-u-s-hydrogen-fuel-cell-mu/
Green-Tech for the US: Stadler Signs First Ever Contract for Hydrogen-powered Train – https://inlandempire.us/green-tech-for-the-us-stadler-signs-first-ever-contract-for-hydrogen-powered-train/
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