Rolling stock manufacturer Stadler has unveiled its first hydrogen passenger-ready train in the United States at the APTA EXPO in Orlando, Florida, alongside the San Bernardino County Transit Authority (SBCTA). 

The FLIRT H², a zero-emission multiple unit equipped with a modular power pack capable of powering a four-car train, will be used on the SBCTA’s new nine-mile Arrow Line extension from Redlands to the Metrolink San Bernadino Line in California, replacing the DMU’s currently in use as of late 2024. 

The SBCTA board’s vice-president Ray Marquez said: “More than a decade ago, SBCTA recognised a need in our community to not only expand passenger rail service but to come up with a greener alternative. This partnership gets us there. 

“We’re also inspired by the innovation, engineering and brilliance of our partners at Stadler. The FLIRT H² is a 21st-century marvel and something that we’ll be admiring for decades to come.” 

Building on Stadler’s existing FLIRT model, the FLIRT H² runs on an electric drive with hydrogen fuel cells as the energy source, with a range of over 286 miles (460km) and a maximum speed of 79mph (127km/h). 

The technology was first unveiled in 2022 at the InnoTrans event in Berlin, where the Swiss manufacturer highlighted the use of a separate power pack module that contains the hydrogen power equipment, including the fuel cells, batteries and hydrogen tanks, meaning it is separated from the passenger areas of the train. 

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With its first hydrogen train, Stadler joins the growing number of rolling stock manufacturers to offer the technology, with Alstom signing deals to bring its train to places like Saudi Arabia and Italy and Hyundai Rotem revealing a hydrogen tram for South Korea.