The First Hydrogen-Powered Train



An average freight train riding on the tracks.

An extremely loud and noisy train zooms across the tracks and people hold their breaths to avoid breathing in harmful emissions. For years, trains have been a big part of transportation. They are actually the most popular source of transportation in many countries. Many people all around the world ride trains everyday to get to places such as school, work, or even vacations. However, it is a well known fact that traditional trains powered by diesel give off plenty of pollution that is harmful to the environment. Also, these trains are infamous for their annoyingly loud horns. Still, diesel trains are our only option for traveling quickly without having to deal with the traffic that riding a car comes with. But now, these problems have been solved with the invention of the first ever hydrogen-powered train.

In Germany, the French company Alstom tested the first ever successful passenger train that runs only on hydrogen. They have decided to call this new train the Handrail. Instead of the conventional diesel that most trains use today, these trains use hydrogen for its power source. The hydrogen used is an alternative to the diesel power source, making the Hydrail more eco-friendly. These trains function by taking the hydrogen inside the train and oxygen that is conveniently located outside and putting the two in it’s tanks.. Large fuel cells attached to the top of the Hydrail combine these two elements which creates electricity. The produced electricity is then used in the lithium ion batteries to power the train. With one full tank of hydrogen, the Hydrail can travel up to 500 miles while carrying a maximum of 300 passengers.

The hydrogen powered train may sound like something not very special. However, the benefits that it offers are absolutely wonderful. First, the main ingredients used in making energy for this train are only hydrogen and oxygen. This is good because these elements give off no harmful emissions, just water and steam resulting in no pollution as opposed to the emissions that diesel trains give off which causes much more pollution. The emissions from this train are so clean that the product manager of this train even claimed that humans could breathe in the emissions without harming themselves. With the amount of factories, cars, and other fossil burning industries that cause pollution, people should do their best to decrease pollution, and the hydrogen powered train may truly make a big impact. Furthermore, the Hydrail is so much more quiet than the diesel train which can also be a great asset. Many people do not want to live in homes near railroads. However, the Hydrail is 60% more silent than traditional trains. This is because the only part of it that make noise is the air resistance and the wheels on the tracks.

Kraemer student Jonathan C. says, “This train sounds like a really good idea and I hope to travel in it one day.” As a person can tell, this new invention is clearly something that can change the future of transportation. Hydrogen-powered trains that are efficient and even create less pollution and sound may be very useful.