California is boldly advancing into a greener future with a groundbreaking deal inked with Stadler, a Swiss train manufacturer. The essence of this $80 million pact? Four hydrogen-powered trains for the Golden State, with a potential to expand to 29. These aren’t just any trains; they’re part of Stadler’s FLIRT (Fast Light Intercity and Regional Train) series, and they represent a significant shift towards zero-emission transportation.
Martin Ritter, CEO of Stadler US, captured the spirit of this initiative, “Our design of the battery fuel cell train is changing the US rolling stock industry for alternative propulsion systems, combining the typical Stadler top quality and reliability.”
Funded by Governor Gavin Newsom’s $10 billion zero-emission vehicle package, these trains are a step beyond mere innovation; they’re a commitment to sustainable travel. The base order covers routes between Merced and Sacramento, with plans to demonstrate their prowess on various state corridors.
The hydrogen magic lies in its eco-friendly footprint. Unlike conventional trains, these hydrogen marvels emit only water vapor. This aligns perfectly with California’s vision, as Transportation Secretary Toks Omishakin puts it, to provide “innovative clean transportation options that benefit people and the planet.”
These trains are set to start service in 2027, marking a significant leap in the realm of sustainable transport. Caltrans Director Tony Tavares echoes this sentiment, emphasizing California’s drive to reduce pollution and combat climate change through innovative solutions like these trains.
In the broader context, Stadler isn’t alone in this hydrogen-powered journey. Alstom of Germany has already launched the Coradia iLint™, the world’s first passenger train powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, operational in Germany and Austria, and tested in Canada.
This contract is more than a purchase; it’s a firm stand by California against climate change, underlining the state’s dedication to eco-friendly solutions and sustainable mobility. As we look towards a cleaner future, California’s partnership with Stadler on this hydrogen-fueled venture marks a significant stride in the journey towards zero-emission rail networks.