The Anonymous Widower

Arcola Showcases Scottish Hydrogen Conversion

The title of this post is the same as an article in the December 2021 Edition of Modern Railways.

The article has this sib-title.

Class 614 Demonstration Runs at Bo’ness Next Year

This is a key paragraph early in the article.

The aim is to build capability within the Scottish supply chain with a view to future conversion of hydrogen fleets within Scotland. The choice of a ‘314’ to provide the donor vehicles was based solely on availability, following the withdrawal of the EMU fleet by ScotRail at the end of 2019.

I don’t think they would have been my choice of donor train, as the Class 314 trains were built over forty years ago.

But, as Merseyrail have shown, British Rail trains of that era scrub up well.

The article is worth a full read and worth the cover price of the magazine, as it has details on the conversion and tips on how you might design a hydrogen train.

  • All the hydrogen tanks , fuel cells and batteries are designed to be fitted in the vehicle underframes and don’t take up space in the passenger compartment.
  • There is a fuel cell raft under both driving motor vehicles.
  • Each raft contains a 70 kW fuel cell from Ballard and hydrogen cylinders.
  • 40 kg. of hydrogen at a pressure of 350 bar can be carried in each raft.
  • Waste heat from the fuel cell is used to heat the train.
  • The DC traction motors have been replaced by modern three-phase AC motors.
  • The hydrogen fillers come from the automotive industry, which is surely an obvious move.
  • The interior looks good in the picture and has uses seats reclaimed from Pendolino refurbishment.

The article also reveals that Arcola are working with Arup on a study to convert a Class 158 DMU to hydrogen power.


I wish all the engineers and suppliers well, but I feel that these two projects are both driven by Scottish politics, rather than sound engineering principles.

November 26, 2021 Posted by | Hydrogen | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arcola Energy, Consortium Of Rail Industry Leaders To Deliver First Scottish Hydrogen-Powered Train

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

The article describes the project to create a demonstrator hydrogen train for Scotland out of an old Class 314 train.


  1. Work will be needed on the interior.
  2. Is a three-car train long enough?
  3. Will the train still be able to use its pantograph?

The trains may be over forty years old, but they can probably made to look good, as they are closely related to these Class 508 trains, that are in superb condition on Merseyrail.

These trains were built in 1979 and are one of the oldest trains on the UK’s mainland network.

Wikipedia says this about the conversion to hydrogen.

In February 2020, ScotRail announced plans to convert one of the two remaining units, 314209, to run on hydrogen. This is a feasibility study running alongside ScotRail’s commitment to run no diesel trains by 2035.

The train will be displayed at the COP26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in 2021.

December 30, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Scotland’s First Hydrogen-Powered Train Showcased At COP26 Summit

The title of this post, is the same as that of this article in the Scotsman.

This is the introductory paragraph.

The zero emission train project will demonstrate how the country’s railways could be decarbonised by phasing out diesel within 15 years.

The train will be based on a withdrawn Class 314 train.

These trains entered service in 1979 and are certainly not the worst of that generation of British Rail electric trains.

It will be a tight timetable to get the train ready for the COP26 summit, which is scheduled for November 1-12 in 2021.

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Hydrogen, Transport/Travel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hydrogen-Powered Train To Be Tested In Scotland As Fuel Of Future

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

Points from the article.

  • The train would be a converted recently-retired Class 314 train.
  • The train could be tested on a heritage railway, as the battery-electric Class 230 train, was tested on the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway.
  • The technology involved will be developed by Arcola Energy of Dalston in London and the University of St. Andrews.

Dr. Ben Todd of Arcola Energy described the project as a small feasibility study.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 1 Comment

A Trip To Romantic Paisley Canal Station

Paisley Canal station has the same ring to it, that I talked about in Now You Can Take A New Bus For London To Romantic Clapton Pond.

So I had to take a trip.

The Paisley Canal Line is very much a line of simple stations, many of which are just a single platform.

Judging by the amount of cars strewn around Hawkhead station, there would appear to be a need for Park-and-Ride station on the line.

The Class 314 Trains

This is a line, that would benefit from some replacement trains for the current Class 314 trains.

Like London’s Class 315 trains, the Class 314 trains are a reliable set of relics from the British Rail era. London’s 313 and 315 trains are all being replaced and I wonder if the new Class 385 trains will enable better stock to run on this line.

Currently, the 75 mph Class 314 trains take eighteen minutes with five stops from Glasgow Central and twenty-one minutes for the return.

As the service is half-hourly, the service requires two trains.

If the service were to be run by modern Class 385 or 380 trains, which are 100 mph trains with much shorter dwell times at stations, the trains would appear to spend a lot of time at Glasgow Central station waiting to return to Paisley Canal.

Unless of course, they are fast enough to do the return trip in under half-an-hour, which would enable the current service to be run with a single train.

Extension To Kilmalcolm

Under Future in the Wikipedia entry for the Paisley Canal Line, this is said.

The reopening of the section between Paisley Canal station and Kilmacolm has been proposed.

The distance is probably not more than a few miles and the length of the extended line would probably allow a modern train to do the round trip in an hour.

If this were the case, a half-hourly service could be performed by two Class 380 or 385 trains.

I also suspect, that should a Class 385 train with onboard energy storage be developed, that such a train might be able to run the service, using stored energy between Paisley Canal and Kilmalcolm stations.

If this were possible, then no extra electrification would be needed.

As the Paisley Canal Branch is single-track from Corkerhill station, would it be possible to build the extension as single-track?

A single-track extension without electrification would surely do wonders for the economics of the project.

September 12, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment