Monday, 4 January 2021

Scottish Class 314 Train Will Be Certified As a Platform for Hydrogen Power


Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the Hydrogen Accelerator, based at the University of St Andrews, have appointed Arcola Energy and a consortium of industry-leaders in hydrogen fuel cell integration, rail engineering and functional safety to deliver Scotland’s first hydrogen powered train. 


Based at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, a Class 314 car passenger train,
made available by ScotRail will be converted to run on hydrogen


The consortium will be led by hydrogen fuel cell integration specialist Arcola Energy and draw on the expertise of world-leading rail engineering and safety experts to deliver full system design and integration based on Arcola’s A-Drive technology platform. Arcola are already working with Vivarail to develop Hydrogen powered trains.

The Scottish project is supported by rail engineering and safety experts Arup and Abbott Risk Consulting to form an integrated delivery team, with AEGIS providing regulatory third-party verification.

“Hydrogen traction power offers a safe, reliable and zero-carbon alternative for Scotland’s rail network. The hydrogen train project is an excellent opportunity for industry leaders in hydrogen, rail engineering and safety to collaborate with Scottish technology providers to develop a deployment ready solution,” said Dr Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy. “We are delighted to be working with Scottish Enterprise, Transport Scotland and the Hydrogen Accelerator, to support Scotland’s strategy to make passenger railways emission free by 2035.”

Arcola Energy will develop the technology platform for the train’s new powertrain from its planned new Scottish base. Arcola’s existing A-Drive platform will be extended to meet rail safety and compliance requirements, thereby enabling the consortium to significantly reduce development time and cost to deliver a complete hydrogen powered solution in just 10 months.

Project partner Arup will use the learnings from the project to develop a roadmap to roll out hydrogen trains to support the decarbonisation of Scotland’s network.

“With Scotland’s focus on achieving net zero emissions by 2035 and rail playing a leading role in this, hydrogen offers a safe, reliable and zero carbon alternative to other forms of rail propulsion,” said Clare Lavelle, Scotland Energy Business Lead, Arup. “This project is not only a crucial step in helping us understand the practical challenges of using hydrogen traction power on our railways, but an example of the type of investment Scotland needs to take advantage of the opportunity to build a secure, flexible, cost effective and zero carbon energy network.”

Based at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway, the consortium will convert a Class 314 car passenger train, made available by ScotRail, into a deployment-ready and certified platform for hydrogen powered train development.

Following demonstrations, the train will serve as a development platform for Scottish technology providers and academics as Scottish Enterprise and the Hydrogen Accelerator explore opportunities for Scotland’s hydrogen-enabled low carbon strategy.

The Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway will provide engineering facilities and support for testing and public demonstrations.

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson added: “This project has the potential to be a game changer for the future of Scotland’s rail rolling stock. Our Rail decarbonisation Action Plan sets out to make our passenger railways emissions free by 2035, but to maximise our climate change ambitions, there is also a requirement to look at what we do with retired stock. If we can bring those back into use in a carbon neutral way, there are huge climate gains to be made.”

It is planned that the Consortium will demonstrate the hydrogen powered train during COP26, hosted by Glasgow City, from November 1-12, 2021.


Arcola are also working with Vivarail on Hydrogen powered trains

More about Arcola here