The Government of Ontario in Canada has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for concept design work to integrate a hydrogen fuel cell system into a bi-level Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) train.
Ontario transport officials are currently planning to electrify the GO rail network in order to transform it into a rapid transit system within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).
The hydrogen-powered trains will operate as an alternative to conventional overhead wire-based systems, and will be deployed as a part of the comprehensive GO Regional Express Rail (RER) programme.
Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca said: “Electrifying GO rail service is a major step forward for public transit in our province.
“The work we are doing on electrification today represents a significant investment that will impact Ontarians for generations.”
A feasibility study is currently being conducted as part of the initiative in order to explore the use of hydrogen fuel cells, which are a source of clean energy.
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The Hydrogen Rail (Hydrail) Feasibility Study aims to identify the ideal method of advancing the electrification of GO rail services.
The study will see the commissioning of multiple rail vehicle manufacturers to develop designs and demonstrate the impact that incorporating hydrogen fuel cells into bi-level trains would have on the performance of the rail network.
It is slated to be completed by the end of this year, and the final decision on the electrification technology is expected to be taken upon analysis of the results.
The Government of Ontario is investing approximately C$21.3bn ($17.2bn) to upgrade the current GO Transit from the existing commuter transit service into a regional rapid transit system.
GO RER is expected to increase the number of weekly trips from about 1,500 to nearly 6,000 by 2025 in order to provide frequent services across the GO rail network.