HydroFLEX offers zero-emission rail travel

HydroFLEX is the UK’s first hydrogen-ready passenger train. It can operate under electric, battery and hydrogen power, making it the world’s first ‘tri-mode’ train.

Porterbrook has invested £8 million in the latest version of HydroFLEX, and almost 30 UK companies have contributed to delivering the train over its 10-month build period. Supply chain partners have employed over 250 people on the project creating an economic value to those businesses of more than £6 million.

This innovative train is the result of a collaboration between Porterbrook and the University of Birmingham who received grant funding from Innovate UK – a branch of the UK government.

We worked alongside Network Rail to take HydroFLEX to Glasgow during COP26, and we showcased this ground-breaking technology to invited delegates and visitors.

HydroFLEX had several high-profile visitors, including HRH The Prince of Wales and Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The train was also showcased to a number of MP’s and MSP’s during the event.

We were able to offer the unique opportunity of going inside the HydroChamber to see the inner workings of the technology behind hydrogen power, which was a firm favourite of the tours with our visitors.

Up to 277kg of hydrogen fuel is safely contained aboard HydroFLEX in 36 high pressure tanks. This is fed into fuel cells, where a chemical process converts the hydrogen and oxygen from the air to generate clean electricity.

Innovations such as HydroFLEX can play a significant role in achieving the 2050 Net Zero target by encouraging modal shift from road transport to rail.

Hydrogen powered trains will support the progressive roll out of electrification schemes, as well as delivering clean train travel on routes where overhead wires cannot be economically justified.

HydroFLEX is part of a suite of Porterbrook Engineering initiatives designed to improve air-quality, reduce carbon and deliver a cost-effective and sustainable railway for both passengers and taxpayers.

It is amazing to see Porterbrook’s HydroFLEX train showcased on an international stage. Ground-breaking green technology projects like HydroFLEX are central to our plan to decarbonise the rail network by 2050
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP