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Italy Makes a €400 Million Investment in Hydrogen-Powered Trains

In recent years, the Italian rail operator Ferrovie della Calabria (FdC) has made significant strides in embracing the ecological transition by commissioning hydrogen-powered trains from Swiss rolling stock manufacturer Stadler. The latest development in this project is the order of three additional hydrogen trains, building upon the initial deal of six trains signed in July 2023. With options for six more trains, FdC aims to expand its fleet to a total of nine hydrogen trains by 2026.

This ambitious project, with a total investment of over €400 million ($434.5 million), demonstrates FdC's commitment to becoming a leader in regional transport and providing enhanced services to its users. The narrow-gauge trains, measuring 50 meters (164 feet) in length, consist of two cars and a power pack that houses the fuel cells and hydrogen tanks. The lightweight aluminum frame of the trains improves energy efficiency, while the interior offers 89 seats and designated areas for wheelchair, pushchair, and bicycle access. The onboard facilities, including toilets, meet the standards for People with Reduced Mobility and Technical Specifications for Interoperability.

Stadler, the manufacturer responsible for the delivery and maintenance of these hydrogen trains, has already established a partnership with the state of California. California utilized funds from Governor Gavin Newsom's $10 billion zero-pollution vehicle package to purchase 10 hydrogen fuel-cell trains for $207 million. This collaboration highlights the growing interest in hydrogen-powered transportation solutions as a means to combat environmental pollution.

FdC CEO Ernesto Ferraro expressed his enthusiasm for the ongoing modernization efforts facilitated by Stadler. The additional trains will contribute to improving the existing railway infrastructure, building a hydrogen plant, and modernizing the company's technology. With the support of the Region of Calabria and relevant Ministries, FdC is confident in achieving its goals of becoming a modern and sustainable transport company within the next three years.

The adoption of hydrogen-powered trains represents a significant step towards reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change. Unlike conventional trains that rely on dirty energy sources, hydrogen-powered trains emit only heat and water, making them an environmentally friendly alternative. This investment in hydrogen-electric train technology showcases the commitment of governments and transportation companies to embrace clean energy solutions and contribute to a greener future.

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