Global locomotive manufacturer Alstom has partnered with Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) to operate and provide demonstrations for the first passenger hydrogen-powered train in the Middle East.

There is set to be a planned locomotive demonstration in Riyadh this month, featuring Alstom’s Coradia iLint, “the world’s first passenger train powered by a hydrogen fuel cell”.

The demonstration will oversee the Coradia iLint travelling 10km to 20km on either Line 1 or Line 2 of Riyadh’s East Network.

According to Alstom, the demonstration is set in response to the signed 2022 MoU between the two companies, which entailed ambitions to create or modify hydrogen solutions for the Kingdom’s needs.

SAR CEO Dr. Bashar Al-Malik emphasised the future benefits provided by the introduction of the hydrogen train: “SAR is fully committed to its essential national role, implementing game-changing initiatives in line with our strategic framework, closely aligned with the National Transport and Logistics Strategy.

”Driven by emission-free energy generation, the hydrogen train offers a myriad of benefits, making it a compelling choice for sustainable energy solutions. Its positive impact spans across the environment, economy and the future of generations to come.”

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Alstom’s Coradia iLint made its debut in 2016 at the InnoTrans trade fair in Berlin, which was followed by the Coradia iLint entering commercial service in Germany in 2018.

The locomotive is capable of attaining a range of up to 1,000km at a maximum speed of 140km/h.

Mohamed Khalil, managing director of Alstom in Saudi Arabia, expressed how this partnership aligns with the companies’ shared commitment to sustainable transport.

Khalil said: “This is a remarkable milestone in the history of SAR and Alstom. Alstom is honoured to partner with SAR to showcase our hydrogen train in Riyadh.

“Hydrogen trains hold immense potential in reducing carbon emissions and providing a viable alternative to diesel trains for non-electrified lines. We are committed to working with SAR in their drive to support the Kingdom’s engagements on clean energy and a net zero target by 2060.”

According to Alstom, the Coradia iLint exceeded expectations last year by travelling 1,175km without refuelling its hydrogen tanks.