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Consortium in project to develop hydrogen train

A disused ScotRail carriage passing the Kelpies to take part in the Hydrogen train project (Pic: Scottish Enterprise)

A retired ScotRail train has been brought back into service as an experiment in using hydrogen to fuel to transform the rail network.

The Class 314 locomotive has been converted to run on hydrogen which is seen as a solution to helping Scotland achieve its zero-carbon targets.

Abbott Risk Consulting (ARC), the Edinburgh-based risk and safety consultancy, is working with Arcola Energy, the hydrogen and fuel cell technology integration specialist, Arup, the global engineering consultancy, and AEGIS Certification.

The project is being funded by Scottish Enterprise and Transport Scotland, let through the Hydrogen Accelerator, based at St Andrews University. 

John Abbott, ARC’s managing director, said: “This is a really important project for us and for Scotland.  To be part of this consortium, and to be able to apply our functional safety experience to such an important sustainability initiative for Scotland’s railways, is a real privilege.”

Ben Todd, CEO of Arcola Energy, said: “Hydrogen traction power offers a safe, reliable and zero-carbon alternative for Scotland’s rail network.

“The hydrogen train project is an excellent opportunity for industry leaders in hydrogen, rail engineering and safety to collaborate with Scottish technology providers to develop a deployment ready solution.”


Following demonstrations at at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway will provide engineering facilities and support for testing and public demonstrations.

Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson added: “This project has the potential to be a game changer for the future of Scotland’s rail rolling stock.

“Our Rail decarbonisation Action Plan sets out to make our passenger railways emissions free by 2035, but to maximise our climate change ambitions, there is also a requirement to look at what we do with retired stock. If we can bring those back into use in a carbon neutral way, there are huge climate gains to be made.”

The Consortium will demonstrate the hydrogen powered train during COP26, hosted by Glasgow City, from November 1-12, 2021.

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