THE European-led FCH2Rail project completed a series of test runs in Portugal in early April. It is the first time that the former-Renfe CAF class 463 Civia EMU, which has been repurposed as a demonstrator train with hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, has operated outside Spain.

The 1668mm-gauge, three-car multiple-unit ran on the Minho line after receiving authorisation for use on the Portuguese network. In total, the train has covered more than 8500km in hydrogen mode, allowing the consortium behind the project, including CAF, Spain’s national operator Renfe and infrastructure manager Adif, to evaluate the reliability of the hydrogen propulsion and energy management systems.

The Portuguese testing phase was supported by Stellantis, which provided access to refuelling facilities at Porriño in Spain close to the Portuguese border, freight operator Medway which provided drivers, and Iberdrola, which supplied green hydrogen.