The Anonymous Widower

Dutch Province To Introduce Regular Hydrogen Services

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article on the International Railway Journal.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The regional transport authority in the Dutch province of Groningen has announced plans to introduce hydrogen trains for its regional concession following a successful test earlier this year.

In March 2019, I went to Groningen and explored the railways in the area, where Stadler GTW trains are used for the train services.

These trains are a smaller version of Greater Anglia’s Class 755 trains.

In The Train Station At The Northern End Of The Netherlands, I describe a visit to Eemshaven station to the North of Groningen.

I said this.

At the turnround at Eemshaven with the driver, he indicated that there had been speculation about battery and hydrogen trains in the North of The Netherlands.

It appears the driver was right.

The Bridge Over The Ems

The article also indicates that the bridge over the River Ems, that I wrote about in From Groningen To Leer By Train, could be opening soon.

This video shows what the new bridge will look like.

And this Google Map shows the current state of the bridge.

I’m not sure of the date of the picture, but there still appears a lot of work to do.



October 2, 2020 - Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport | , , , , , , ,


  1. there’s an upgrade to the Wunderline Groningen-Bremen planned for completion in 2024, which includes rebuilding the bridge (there’s an English version of this page, which is not as uptodate as the Dutch).

    The line to Stadskanaal mentioned is a branch off this line also planned for reopening in 2024. The English Wikipedia page doesn’t mention this, but there’s a bit about it on the Dutch page

    Given that Groningen is the centre of the Dutch natural gas industry, it’s perhaps not surprising they’re looking to H2.

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 3, 2020 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the link.

    That is a much-needed railway line, as it would make a practical direct Amsterdam-Bremen-Hamburg service possible, that would be ideal for a hydrogen-powered Flirt with the engine in the middle.

    As Stadler is the incumbent train supplier and supply trains to both Dutch and German railways, this is not a done deal for Alstom.

    I can read German to a reasonable level, so at least most of the pages are in German.

    Comment by AnonW | October 3, 2020 | Reply

  3. Full report (in English) on the Groningen tests is on Alstom’s site

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 4, 2020 | Reply

    • I don’t think this one is home and hosed for Alstom yet. Stadler won’t let this one go without a fight. The area is very similar to East Anglia and European-sized Class 755 trains, with a 100 mph capability would be equally good. The iLint works, but it’s not up there with the best Stadler or even Alstom, Hitachi or Bombadier offer.

      Alstom need a hydrogen-train designed from scratch, that can use the electrification.

      The route between Amsterdam and Bremen is partly electrified and what is needed anyway, is a train that can use electrification, where it exists and run at 100 mph or even more. I am impressed with Hitachi’s Regional Battery Train, which would be able to handle the routes.

      Remember, Stadler are running battery Flirts in Schleswig-Holstein and hydrogen Flirts in California.

      Comment by AnonW | October 4, 2020 | Reply

      • well, that will become clear when the bids come in. One factor with hydrogen is that, unlike diesel which is reasonably simple to supply, hydrogen has to be produced. The German contracts with Alstom include that through an arrangement with Linde; it’ll be interesting to see whether the Dutch ones are similar. Stadler was the only bidder for the Zillertal contract, reportedly because Alstom felt there was no room in their production schedule. This will be true for battery trains too: who will produce trains for whom will depend on who has capacity where.

        Comment by Peter Robins | October 4, 2020

  4. Linde of course can provide hydrogen systems based on ITM Power’s electrolysers. The Dutch are intending to produce masses of hydrogen offshore, using combined wind turbines and electrolysers and bring the hydrogen onshore using gas pipes, that were used to bring natural gas ashore.

    Hydrogen won’t be a problem.

    There is going to be a massive need for new electrolysers across Europe and the world and it appears to me, that Linde and ITM Power are well-placed to provide it. These electrolysers are not difficult to transport, so any extra manufacturing capacity can probably be placed anywhere there is suitably skilled labour.

    Could they supply flat-pack factories to countries like Canada, Australia, Poland, Jpan, South Korea, South Africa etc, where they now patents and contracts will be honoured? This could be a worldwide project to help the world out of the debris of the covids.

    The sensitive bits could even be manufactured in the UK and exported.

    As to train manufacturing capacity, Stadler now have factories in Poland, where a lot of their trains are made. They are also now a public company, so probably have better access to finance.

    They certainly have the technology and I believe they and Hitachi make the best trains in Europe.

    Comment by AnonW | October 4, 2020 | Reply

    • well, yes, there’s a pilot planned for producing offshore hydrogen, but it will be a while before it’s clear how viable that is, what quantity can be produced at what cost. There will indeed be a massive demand for electrolysers, but it remains to be seen how quickly mass production can be rolled out. In the meantime, users will have to source hydrogen from somewhere else.

      Comment by Peter Robins | October 4, 2020 | Reply

  5. Read this post.

    It includes this paragraph from a Dutch document.

    A 1.000 MW electrolysis plant that runs 8.000 hours a year, uses 8 billion kWh and 1,5 million m3 pure water to produce 160 million kg Hydrogen. A reverse osmosis plant has to produce the 1.5 million m3 pure water, using sea water or surface water as input. If an electricity price of 2‐2,5 €ct/kWh and a total investment between 500 million and 1 billion Euro with a 10 year life time is assumed, a green hydrogen cost price around 2‐3 €/kg will be the result. This is about competitive with present hydrogen prices, produced from natural gas by steam reforming.


    Comment by AnonW | October 4, 2020 | Reply

    • see also According to “the world’s leading offshore wind developer”, “Hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources offers a carbon-free alternative to fossil-based hydrogen, but currently comes at a significantly higher cost. Closing this cost gap takes time and will depend on public support”.

      Comment by Peter Robins | October 5, 2020 | Reply

      • Thanks for that! Well spotted! A good Press Release

        Comment by AnonW | October 5, 2020

  6. and right on cue: Siemens are now offering ‘hydrogen as a service’ as part of a ‘holistic hydrogen system for rail’. I can see something similar happening with batteries too, with batteries replaced as they age as part of a maintenance contract separate from that for the trains themselves.

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 5, 2020 | Reply

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