SBCTA: First U.S. Hydrogen Fuel Cell MU

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) has awarded a contract to Stadler for a hydrogen fuel cell multiple-unit trainset* that will be the first of its type to operate in the U.S. The contract includes an option for four additional vehicles.

The hydrogen-powered FLIRT (Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train; German: Flinker Leichter Intercity-und Regional-Triebzug) H2 is expected to enter service in 2024 on the Redlands Passenger Rail Project (the “Arrow”), a nine-mile line linking Redlands , Calif. and the Metrolink regional/commuter rail station in San Bernardino.

Under the agreement, Stadler will develop the FLIRT H2 as a three-unit, double-ended articulated trainset with two passenger/cab cars, one on either side of a center “power pack” car that will contain the fuel cells, hydrogen tanks and a powered truck with electric traction motors. The trainset is expected to have seating capacity for 108 passengers and additional standing room, with a maximum speed of 80 mph.

“Stadler is committed to designing and building green technology for the transportation industry,” said Stadler U.S. Inc. CEO Martin Ritter. “We are delighted that SBCTA shares our enthusiasm for this goal. We have an excellent relationship with SBCTA, and it is a great honor to partner with them to bring the first hydrogen-powered train to the United States.”

International Railway Journal’s David Burroughs contributed to this story.

*Editor’s Note: Perhaps it’s time to coin an acronym to describe this new technology, and add it to the growing list of terms used to identify various types of vehicles. How about HFCMU (hydrogen fuel cell multiple-unit)? We already have DMU (diesel multiple-unit), DEMU (diesel-electric multiple-unit) and EMU (electric multiple-unit). What’s another acronym? – William C. Vantuono

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