Built by Alstom in Salzgitter, the train is equipped with fuel cells which convert hydrogen and oxygen into electricity, thus eliminating pollutant emissions related to propulsion.

Present at the premier was the minister of economy and transport of Lower Saxony and representatives from the federal ministry of transport and the transport authorities of Lower Saxony Transport Authority (LNVG) and Elbe-Weser Transport Company (EVB).

LNVG signed a contract with Alstom to supply the fleet of 14 trains in November 2017.
EVB will initially operate the two-car trains, which have a maximum speed of 140km/h, on behalf of LNVG on the nearly 100km-long line between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude, replacing EVB’s existing diesel fleet.

The new trains will be fuelled at a mobile hydrogen fuelling facility at Bremervörde station, where the gaseous hydrogen will be pumped from a 12m-high steel storage tank. The trains will be able to operate for an entire day without refuelling, as one tank provides a range of 1000km. A stationary fuelling point at EVB’s premises is scheduled to go into operation in 2021, when Alstom will deliver a further 14 Coradia iLint trains to LNVG.

"This is a revolution for Alstom and for the future of mobility,” says Alstom chairman and CEO, Mr Henri Poupart-Lafarge. “The world’s first hydrogen fuel cell train is entering passenger service and is ready for serial production. The Coradia iLint heralds a new era in emission-free rail transport. It is an innovation that results from French-German teamwork and exemplifies successful cross-border cooperation.”

Lower Saxony’s ministry of economy and transport, whose department supported LNVG’s purchase of the further 14 hydrogen trains with more than €81m.

“With the test operation starting today, Lower Saxony is performing real pioneering work in local transport in cooperation with Alstom and EVB,” Lower Saxony’s minister of economy and transport, Dr Bernd Althusmann. “In successfully proving the operability of the fuel cell technology in daily service, we will set the course for rail transport to be largely operated climate-friendly and emission-free in the future.”

“With the two Coradia iLint trains and with the use of another 14 hydrogen trains from the end of 2021, we are the first passenger rail transport authority to replace existing diesel vehicles by emission-free vehicles, thus contributing better to the fulfilment of the climate protection goals,” says LNVG chief, Mrs Carmen Schwabl. “We also do this because about 120 diesel trainsets in our vehicle pool will reach the end of their lifetime within the next 30 years, meaning we will have to replace them. The experience gained with this project helps us find a sustainable and practical solution.”