Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses are here can Hydro Locos be that far behind?

3 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March, 2016
  • 1,436 posts
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses are here can Hydro Locos be that far behind?
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Thursday, June 07, 2018 12:50 PM

Rode a Hydro Electrict Fuel Cell bus in Canton OH. Clean Quiet like a trolley bus but no need for wires



BNSF tried this on switcher in 2008 but no word what happened to the project-


  • Member since
    November, 2013
  • 805 posts
Posted by VOLKER LANDWEHR on Friday, June 08, 2018 9:31 AM

All you examples have low prime mover power. The bus one fuel-cell of 150 kW, the Alstom iLINT two fuel-cells with together 400 kW and the BNSF HH20B #1205 two fuel-cells of together.

The BNSF is more a battery locomotive with a fuel-cell loader.

Fuel-cell EMUs cost about 75% more than their DMU counterparts. So there is the higher purchase price. The difference was paid for by German government in the iLINT purchase.

You need to build an H2-infrastructure and first of all produce enough H2. As long as H2 isn't produced with solar or wind energie or other renewables it is almost as dirty as diesel.

I don't know how operating costs (diesel fuel, H2-fuel, different fuel consumption, and system efficiencies etc.) play out.

Here is some information about the BNSF HH20B.
- Before being built: https://uic.org/cdrom/2008/11_wcrr2008/pdf/R.
- And after completion: www.apta.com/mc/rail/previous/2010/Papers/Demonstration-of-a-Hydrogen-Fuel-Cell-Locomotive.pdf

BNSF got a patent in 2012: U.S. Patent Number 8117969: https://patents.google.com/patent/US8117969

The locomotive was repainted in 2014. It is still in Trains magazine's BNSF roster.
Regards, Volker


  • Member since
    March, 2016
  • 1,436 posts
Posted by CandOforprogress2 on Friday, June 08, 2018 2:18 PM

Just learned that Canton Ohio Bus gets there Hydrogen trucked in from Sarnia ON by the truckload. So the carbon footprint by the Diesal Truck bringing in the Hydro from 250 miles away probaly exceeds what they are saving.

  • Member since
    May, 2018
  • 7 posts
Posted by HR616 on Friday, June 08, 2018 8:18 PM

GO Transit in Toronto is seriously looking into Hydrogen power. They have already commissioned Alstom/Siemens to prepare a bilevel fuel cell electric multiple unit concept design. They are also considering commissioning a fuel cell locomotive prototype. However, their documents state that a single Hydrogen locomotive would only be able to pull six cars (compared to the twelve pulled by MPI Diesels). 


Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy