The Future for hydrogen trains in the UK

The challenges of decarbonising our energy system are becoming increasingly difficult.

We have begun by addressing the easier options in the power industry, but with concerns about reducing air quality and pollution, the decarbonisation of our transport system is critical in meeting UK targets for emission reductions. When it comes to the rail industry, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers encourages greater electrification of the national rail network.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers recommends:

  1. That the UK Government rethinks the cancellation of electrification programmes and moves forward with a more innovative, and long-term approach, electrification rolling programme, that can create skills and careers, develop supply chains, and work with existing rail networks to manage projects.
  2. That the industry encourages the development and deployment of hydrogen trains and their fuelling and servicing facilities. Creating and supporting demonstration lines and trains will help to de-risk the technologies and servicing ;relating to hydrogen fuels and trains.
  3. That hydrogen train technology is developed in industrial areas where hydrogen production already occurs, and can support the wider ;transport system. For example, as well as local trains, local hydrogen buses could be refuelled at an industrial site, and hydrogen could also be pumped into the gas grid to help decarbonise heat. Both the North West and the North East could support test beds. These test beds will support knowledge sharing across sectors, providing cost reductions in hydrogen fuel.

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