Indian Railways is looking to introduce hydrogen-fuelled trains on its narrow gauge heritage routes by the end of this year. 

“We will roll out the hydrogen trains on the heritage routes from December 2023. This will mean that these heritage routes will go completely green,” Indian Union Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw stated.

The heritage routes of Indian Railways are Matheran Hill Railway, Kangra Valley, Bilmora Waghai, Marwar-Devgarh Madriya, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Kalka Shimla Railway, as well as Darjeeling Himalayan Railway.

According to various local media reports, the railways is currently developing a prototype of hydrogen fuel-based train at the Northern Railway workshop.

This will be trialled on the Sonipat-Jind section in the Indian state of Haryana.

The new hydrogen-powered trains will be modelled on the lines of its German and Chinese counterparts.

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China recently introduced hydrogen-powered trains, said to be the first of its type in Asia.

The trains have a range of 600km on a single tank, and a maximum speed of 160 km/ph.  

Germany was the first country to launch hydrogen-driven trains, which can run for 1,000km at a speed of 140kmph.

The train was under trial in Germany since 2018.

Last month, plans to launch domestically manufactured hydrogen-driven trains in India were unveiled.

These new trains, named Vande Metro, will replace the existing trains made in the 1950s and 1960s.

Meanwhile, in September last year, Indian Railways unveiled plans to install a Real-Time Train Information System (RTIS), developed in partnership with ISRO.

Earlier in 2022, Indian Railways announced plans to deploy the Kavach anti-collision system.