Alstom has announced the launch of what it claims to be the world’s first fleet of hydrogen-powered passenger trains in the state of Lower Saxony, Germany.

The move follows almost four years of trial operations of the Alstom-produced 14 Coradia iLint trains that use hydrogen fuel cells for traction power to gradually replace 15 diesel trains.

The Coradia iLint trains, which have been produced for Landesnahverkehrsgesellschaft Niedersachsen (LNVG), have a range of 1,000km. This allows them to “run all day long on just one tank of hydrogen”.

The 14 CO2-emission-free trains will be operated by Elbe-Weser railways and transport company (evb) on behalf of LNVG on the route between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude.

Alstom CEO and board chairman Henri Poupart-Lafarge said: “The world’s first hydrogen train, the Coradia iLint, demonstrates our clear commitment to green mobility combined with state-of-the-art technology. We are very proud to bring this technology into series operation as part of a world premiere, together with our great partners.”

The Coradia iLint trains will travel at speeds of 80km/h to 120km/h on the evb network. It will have a maximum speed of 140km/h.

Currently, Alstom is under four contracts for the delivery of hydrogen fuel cell-powered regional trains. The contracts were signed with firms including two in Germany, one from Italy, and one from France.

Alstom said that the Coradia iLint has undergone successful trials in Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, among other countries.