SAUDI Arabia Railways (SAR) and Alstom have announced they will demonstrate a hydrogen train in Riyadh in October, the first use of a hydrogen traction in rail vehicle in the Middle East.

The Coradia iLint will travel 10-20km on lines 1 or 2 of SAR’s East Network in Riyadh.

The announcement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the parties in September 2022 to develop or adapt hydrogen solutions for the needs of Saudi Arabia. SAR says the collaboration is focusing on identifying and testing innovative sustainable mobility solutions to reduce carbon emissions from transport and meet the kingdom’s Vision 2030 targets.

“SAR is fully committed to its essential national role, implementing game-changing initiatives in line with our strategic framework, closely aligned with the National Transport and Logistics Strategy (NTLS),” says SAR CEO, Dr Bashar Al-Malik. ”Driven by emission-free energy generation, the hydrogen train offers a myriad of benefits, making it a compelling choice for sustainable energy solutions.”

“Hydrogen trains hold immense potential in reducing carbon emissions and providing a viable alternative to diesel trains for non-electrified lines,” says Mr Mohamed Khalil, managing director of Alstom in Saudi Arabia. “This is a major stepping stone in co-developing hydrogen-powered train systems for operations suitable for and meeting the increasing capacity needs of the kingdom and SAR networks.”