The Anonymous Widower

Talgo and Repsol To Develop Fuel Cell Trains Powered By Renewable Hydrogen

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

This article follows the pattern, of if you’re going to build hydrogen-powered trains, you need a quality partner for your hydrogen.

I still puzzle, what Talgo will do with their factory in Scotland, if they miss out on the orders for High Speed Two.

  • Russia is an obvious market for their Spanish gauge high speed trains and delivery from Rosyth by ship is probably easier, than from Spain.
  • The UK probably needs a quality modern hydrogen train for remote routes, as does the island of Ireland.
  • As I indicated in LNER Seeks 10 More Bi-Modes, there could be a niche for a small fleet of 140 mph hydrogen bi-modes to run between London and the North of Scotland.


The UK probably has enough capacity for regional and commuter electric and battery trains, with Alstom, CAF and Hitachi all with modern trains in production.

Ireland and Russia, with their similar gauge to Spain could be worthwhile markets.

However, I do believe that the 140 mph hydrogen bi-modes would slot into substantial markets in continents and countries like Africa, Australia, Canada, India, Norway, South America, Sweden and the United States, where there are enormous mileages of standard gauge railways without electrification.

August 3, 2021 - Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


  1. Since Talgo’s bid has been rejected and HS2 have settled a dispute over the decision, and with no near term prospects for other UK projects apart from the LNER requirement) the provisional Scottish factory project will I suspect have to all extents died. After all as you’ve said the UK probably has enough capacity for regional and commuter electric and battery trains, with Alstom, CAF and Hitachi all with modern trains in production (I suppose we shouldn’t discount Siemens).
    As for Russia, I’d guess that Talgo could if they wanted build another factory anywhere in Europe that suited their objectives it would more likely be in Poland where they’d be closer to cross boarder guage changing opportunities such as the Berlin – Moscow project, while staying in the EU (Talgo already have a maintenance facility in Moscow for the Strizh (or ‘Swift’) Russian locomotive-hauled, low-floor, high-speed express trains
    Ireland? Didn’t CAF service that market directly from Spain?
    I see that Repsol will use biomass from their plants in a Gasification process to produce hydrogen for rail – that’s a step better than typical blue Hydrogen production but is it truly a green process, who knows. Still at least it’s a non-electrical renewable energy source. When you consider the cycle of renewable electricity via electrolysis to provide hydrogen for fuel cells which is in turn is converted to electrical energy, you’re not exactly looking at an efficient process.
    As you say hydrogen bi-modes would slot into substantial markets in Africa, Australia, North and South America and Asia, where there are many route miles of track without electrification. The issue for some of these locations will be the hydrogen production and supply infrastructure.

    Comment by fammorris | August 3, 2021 | Reply

    • Talgo have always insisted that for the Scottish factory to be viable, they didn’t need the HS2 order.

      In some ways you can divide the markets for exported trains into two; English-speaking and Spanish-speaking. So will they supply the first market from Scotland and the second from Spain?

      You also have the Commonwealth connection with Scotland to sell trains to Australia, Canada and parts of Africa.

      Your point about Repsol is interesting. Could they provide a biomass/waste hydrogen system for hydrogen production alongside the trains? Why not get rid of two problems at once?

      I do like the concept of LNER hydrogen bi-modes to the North of Scotland. What would it do for tourism in the North of Scotland?

      Comment by AnonW | August 3, 2021 | Reply

      • Well they won’t be supplying the North American market, probably the largest English language market from Scotland.
        If you want to supply transportation equipment for federal railroads the Buy America Act effectively means that much of your production has to take place in the USA.
        I sometimes think Talgo’s public pronouncements extent the definition of the word ‘optimism’ beyond the realms of reality and having been rejected by India in 2018 despite offering to establish a manufacturing plant for Indian Railways and offering an attractive exporting license for much of the Asia – Pacific region they were back reasserting their interest again last year. Similarly they made an unsolicited approach for production in Australia in 2018 with yet another rejection.
        Much as I have enjoyed riding Talgo trainsets on the Seville – Madrid conventional line and on one occasion arriving 15 minutes early into Atocha, Talgo aren’t going to expand their international presence in the aggressive way CAF have.

        Comment by fammorris | August 3, 2021

      • Just a quick update about Talgo UK. According to the Companies House records, The Gazette of 24th August announced they are to be compulsorily struck off.

        Comment by fammorris | August 27, 2021

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