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Ricardo helps prepare UK’s first hydrogen powered train for mainline testing

  • Date 7 Oct 2020

HydroFLEX, a project led by rolling stock owner Porterbrook, in partnership with the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE), has successfully undertaken its first mainline test of the UK’s first hydrogen powered train – with support from Ricardo in the key area of safety case development and certification.

Originally unveiled at the RailLive event in June 2019, the HydroFLEX project demonstrates a practical application of hydrogen as the power source for a full-size passenger train. Based on a Class 319 electric multiple unit, the HydroFLEX vehicle – the UK’s first hydrogen powered train – is fitted with hydrogen fuel tanks, a fuel cell and battery pack, to provide independent traction power capable of operation with zero carbon emissions.
The HydroFLEX vehicle successfully undertook its first phase of mainline testing achieving a top speed of 50mph, for which Porterbrook sought the assistance of Ricardo in the crucial areas of safety and certification.
In order for mainline testing to be allowed to proceed, the vehicle required approval by an EN17065 accredited certification body and an EN17020 accredited inspection body. Ricardo fulfilled these requirements with rolling stock experts preparing the vehicle Safety Case, whilst colleagues from Ricardo Certification undertook an assessment in accordance with RIS-2700-RST, producing an Attestation Statement along with the  Safety Assessment Report as the project’s Assessment Body. This means that HydroFLEX is now able to commence with testing on Network Rail’s mainline infrastructure.

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