Hydrogen Train Sets World Record for Distance Traveled

A hydrogen fuel cell has shattered records by traveling almost 3,000 kilometers without the need for refueling.

In a groundbreaking achievement for sustainable transportation, a train propelled by a hydrogen fuel cell has shattered records by traveling almost 3,000 kilometers without the need for refueling. The momentous feat has earned it a prestigious spot in the Guinness World Records database, as revealed by the train’s manufacturer on Monday.

The remarkable train, known as the Flirt H2 model, is crafted by Swiss trainmaker Stadler. It embarked on its historic journey on a test track in Colorado, covering an impressive distance of 2,803 kilometers (1,741 miles) over 46 hours. The endurance test commenced on the evening of March 20th, extending throughout the night and into the following day.

Throughout the exhaustive trial, the train operated continuously without the necessity of refueling. Skilled drivers from Stadler and Ensco took turns operating the vehicle, ensuring its smooth operation throughout the duration of the world record attempt.

Guinness World Records officially recognized the endeavor as the longest distance ever traveled by a hydrogen-powered multi-car passenger train on a single tank of fuel. This achievement underscores a significant milestone in the advancement of hydrogen technology within the realm of railway transportation.

The Flirt H2 model boasts an advertised range of 460 kilometers (approximately 286 miles) and typically requires 30 minutes for refueling. However, the train’s ability to traverse a distance over six times its stated range during the record-setting journey showcases the potential for optimized operation under specific conditions, such as those encountered on the test track.

While the manufacturer, Stadler, has not disclosed specific details regarding the size of the fuel cells equipped on the record-breaking train, insights gleaned from the Flirt H2 model supplied to the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) in California offer some perspective. This model features 12 fuel cells, each with a capacity of 100 kW, indicating a robust hydrogen powertrain boasting a total output of 1.2 MW.

Ansgar Brockmeyer, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Stadler, expressed pride in the achievement, stating, “This world record establishes the ideal performance range of our hydrogen version of the best-selling Flirt Electric Multiple Unit, the Flirt H2.”

Despite the monumental success of the Flirt H2’s long-distance journey, it’s worth noting that the train’s intended operational environment differs significantly. The two-car Flirt H2 procured by SBCTA is slated for service along a relatively short 14-kilometer route.

Currently undergoing rigorous testing, thehydr ogen-powered train is on track for its scheduled deployment later this year. Moreover, the state of California has signaled its commitment to sustainable transit by ordering four four-car hydrogen fuel cell trains from Stadler for the California State Transportation Agency, with the potential for an additional six orders in 2024.

This remarkable achievement underscores the growing momentum behind hydrogen-powered transportation, offering a glimpse into a cleaner, more sustainable future for railway networks worldwide. As efforts to reduce carbon emissions gain traction, innovations in hydrogen technology are poised to play a pivotal role in reshaping the landscape of public transportation.