News & Reviews News Wire Stadler hydrogen trainset makes debut in Florida

Stadler hydrogen trainset makes debut in Florida

By Trains Staff | October 12, 2023

| Last updated on February 2, 2024

FLIRT H2 is bound for Southern California’s Arrow service

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Front view of blue and white passenger train equipment
The Stadler FLIRT H2 hydrogen-powered trainset has been on display this week in Orlando. Martin Gombert

ORLANDO, Fla. — Stadler’s FLIRT H2 trainset, the hydrogen-powered commuter-rail equipment set to debut next year in Southern California, has made its first U.S. debut this week at the APTA Expo in Orlando, the American Public Transportation Association’s annual conference.

The train will eventually join three Stadler FLIRT diesel multiple-unit trainsets on the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority’s 9-mile Arrow service between San Bernardino and Redlands, Calif. This week, it has been making test trips for APTA attendees from Brightline’s “Basecamp” maintenance facility near Orlando, and received an official unveiling Tuesday. SBCTA board member Ray Marquez, on hand for that event, called the H2 trainset “a game changer when it comes to sustainable, alternative-energy passenger rail in the U.S.

“More than a decade ago, SBCTA recognized a need in our community to not only expand passenger rail service, but to come up with a greener alternative. This partnership gets us there,” Marquez said in a press release. “We’re also inspired by the innovation, engineering and brilliance of our partners at Stadler. The FLIRT H2 is a 21st-century marvel and something that we’ll be admiring for decades to come.”

The Zero-Emission MultipleUnit, or ZEMU, trainset had previously been displayed at the InnoTrans trade fair in Berlin last fall before undergoing extensive testing in Europe [see “Stadler unveils first hydrogen train for U.S. …,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 21, 2023]. It is expected to enter Arrow service in late 2024.

Blue and white hydrogen trainset with elaborate pattern on body next to building with large Brightline sign
The FLIRT H2 trainset at Brightline’s “Basecamp” maintenance facility. San Bernardino County Transportation Authority

6 thoughts on “Stadler hydrogen trainset makes debut in Florida

  1. This ground breaking technology is a game changer for the rail industry pretty much as it was when railroads made the switch from steam to diesel power and over 100 years ago when cities across the country converted their horse drawn streetcars to that new source of power Electricity and in New York City when the elevated lines got rid of the Forney steam engines and converted to electricity with the new technology at that time MU operation and electric power from the third rail. Just as in those by gone days railroads and city transit systems had to modernize and keep up with the changing times in order to survive and grow, so it is today as railroads need to find and adapt to new methods of power and technology to stay current and be relevant for the future generations to come
    Joseph C. Markfelder

  2. The multiple unit is equipped with a modular power pack that is capable of powering four-car train. The power pack accommodates the entire hydrogen technology, from the fuel cells and batteries to the hydrogen tanks. This means that hydrogen technology is spatially clearly separated from the passenger compartments of the train.

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

    1. Range
      > 286 miles (460 km)

      Maximum Speed
      79 mph (127 km/h)

      Refueling time
      < 30 mins.


    2. Many countries have a rail network without overhead contact lines and are forced to use diesel trains for rail operations. In the USA, for example, only one percent of the rail network is electrified. The FLIRT H₂ vehicle was developed to enable rail operators to run sustainable rail operations and can replace diesel vehicles on routes without overhead contact lines.

      Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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