Alstom and partners to demonstrate Coradia iLint hydrogen train in passenger service in Quebec

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Alstom has announced a new project which will see the firm work with several partners to demonstrate its hydrogen-powered train, the Coradia iLint, in passenger service in Quebec, Canada, during the summer of 2023.

The project partners include the Government of Quebec; Chemin de fer Charlevoix – a short-line railway that operates in the Charlevoix region of Quebec; Train de Charlevoix, which is a tourist rail service between Beauport and La Malbaie, Quebec; industrial lubricants distributor Harnois Énergies, and global consulting firm HTEC.

During summer 2023, the Coradia iLint will carry passengers on the Réseau Charlevoix rail network, along the St Lawrence River, between Parc de la Chute-Montmorency and Baie-St-Paul. The train will be powered by green hydrogen produced by Harnois Énergies at its Quebec City site.

According to Alstom, the province of Quebec will be the first jurisdiction in the Americas to run a train with zero direct emissions powered by green hydrogen, demonstrating its leadership in the transition to a low-carbon economy and the set-up of ecosystems dedicated to hydrogen.

The operation of this train with passengers on board will allow Alstom and its partners to better assess the subsequent steps for the development of hydrogen propulsion technology and its penetration into the North American market.

The Coradia iLint first entered commercial service in Germany in 2018 and has travelled more than 220,000 kilometers in eight European countries. The train is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell that emits only water vapor during operation, while ensuring a quieter environment for passengers and those close to tracks.

On September 15, 2022, the Coradia iLint travelled the record distance of 1,175 kilometers without refueling. Coradia iLint has a top speed of 140 km/h and acceleration and a braking performance comparable to a standard regional diesel train – but without the noise and the emissions.

Coradia iLint stands out for its combination of innovative features: clean energy conversion, flexible energy storage in batteries, smart traction, and energy management. Designed especially for non-electrified lines, it allows for safe, clean, and sustainable operations. To date, 41 trainsets have been ordered by clients in Europe.

“As early as 2018, Alstom was the first to put a hydrogen train into service in Europe and we aim to be the first in the Americas as well,” explained Michael Keroullé, president of Alstom Americas. “With only 1% of the networks electrified in our region, this technology will provide an alternative to diesel. This project will demonstrate our capabilities to provide more sustainable mobility solutions to customers, agencies, and operators, as well as to passengers. It will also provide an extraordinary showcase for Quebec's developing green hydrogen ecosystem.”

“Quebec is positioning itself as a center of expertise in sustainable transportation on the continent,” says François Legault, Premier of Quebec. “Promising innovations such as Alstom’s will not only help us achieve our ambitious climate change targets, but they will also be able to be exported elsewhere in the world. I am convinced that our nation has everything it takes to become one of the international leaders in the green economy!”

Commercial service of the Coradia iLint in Quebec is the first mandate of Alstom’s new innovation center in the Americas, which is dedicated to sustainable mobility solutions. This is the first milestone in the development of an ecosystem around Alstom’s rail solutions with zero direct emissions.

The primary mission of this center, located in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, Quebec, is the development of future platforms with hybrid, battery or green hydrogen propulsion specifically adapted to the North American market, leveraging the proximity to the more than 700 Alstom engineers currently working in the city to help accelerate the decarbonization of the rail sector. 

For the Coradia iLint demonstration project, the center’s engineers will work closely with key players in Quebec’s research and innovation sector, as well as with industrial partners in the Quebec battery and hydrogen industries.