Stadler to build hydrogen-powered train for Southern California service

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A rendering of the hydrogen-powered train Stadler will build for use in Southern California. It will be the first hydrogen-powered passenger trainset in the U.S.

SALT LAKE CITY — Swiss manufacturer Stadler has signed a contract with the San Bernardino County (Calif.) Transportation Authority to build the first hydrogen-powered trains for use in the United States.

The agreement announced Thursday will build a hydrogen-powered version of its FLIRT trainset to run on a 9-mile route to connect Redlands, Calif., to the Metrolink station in San Bernardino. It includes an option for four more trainsets.

“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,” transportation authority president Darcy McNaboe said in a press release.

The trainset will have two cars with a power pack in between, holding the fuel cells and hydrogen tanks. It is projected to have seats for 108 plus standing room, and will have a top speed of 79 mph. Plans are for it to enter service in 2024.

“Stadler is committed to designing and building green technology for the transportation industry,” Martin Ritter, CEO of Stadler USA Inc., said in the release. “We are delighted that SBCTA shares our enthusiasm for this goal.”

Stadler opened a manufacturing plant in Salt Lake City earlier this year.

French manufacturer Alstom introduced the first hydrogen-powered trainset in 2016 [see “Alstom unveils hydrogen-powered train at InnoTrans,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 20, 2016]. The first of those trains began operating in commercial service in Germany in 2018.

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