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Government invests millions in new commitment to hydrogen-electric train technology: 'These goals are now possible'

"The project launched in recent years as part of the ecological transition."

“The project launched in recent years as part of the ecological transition."

Photo Credit: YouTube

Italian rail operator Ferrovie della Calabria commissioned three more hydrogen-powered trains from Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler in January, building upon the original deal of six trains from July 2023.

The agreement increased the fleet of hydrogen trains for the operator, also known as FdC, to nine, with options for six more available. They are set to begin carrying passengers throughout local and regional networks in Calabria by 2026.

"The project launched in recent years as part of the ecological transition … and a total investment of more than €400 million [$434.5 million], confirms the company's desire to become a leader in regional transport and to provide more services to users," FdC's Investment Manager Aristide Vercillo Martino said.

The 950-millimeter (3.1 feet) narrow-gauge trains have two cars and a power pack that houses the fuel cells and hydrogen tanks. The entire vehicle is 50 meters (164 feet) long and is made of a lightweight aluminum frame to improve energy efficiency. 

It has a total of 89 seats for a capacity of 155 passengers and provides designated areas for wheelchair, pushchair, and bicycle access. Additionally, the toilets on board meet the standards for People with Reduced Mobility and Technical Specifications for Interoperability. 

Stadler is the first company to offer this type of vehicle and will be responsible for its delivery and maintenance. It has already agreed to a partnership with the state of California, which used funds from Gov. Gavin Newsom's $10 billion zero-pollution vehicle package to purchase 10 hydrogen fuel-cell trains for $207 million.

Hydrogen-powered trains can help combat Earth's overheating since they emit only heat and water — unlike regular trains, which rely on dirty energy sources that pollute the environment.

"The additional trains ordered from Stadler, with whom we have had a fruitful cooperation for years, are a further investment towards the company's ongoing modernisation," FdC CEO Ernesto Ferraro said

Ferraro added that Stadler will help improve the existing railway infrastructure and rolling stock, build a hydrogen plant, and modernize the company's tech to help FdC "become a modern and sustainable transport company within the next three years." 

"These goals are now possible thanks to the synergy created with the Region of Calabria … and with the relevant Ministries, which have made available the necessary resources to support the industrial plan that the company is pursuing, and to whom our thanks go," Ferraro continued.

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