A Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) hydrogen train (hydrail) rolled into Southern California this week to meet Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The hydrail locomotive is powered by hydrogen fuel cell plus hybrid technology.
Now, it’s a sign of the times when Governor Schwarzenegger tweeted about his experience on Twitter. The H2 locomotive is a switch locomotive that moves other trains short distances around the rail yard.
The BNSF hydrogen train is seen as a clean alternative to those currently powered by diesel engines. In January 2008, I had talked about how BNSF was developing an H2 switch train in Kansas along with its partner Vehicle Projects LLC.
In October 2006, I had also talked about how JR East was developing the world’s first hydrogen powered commuter train in Japan. The BNSF hydrogen hybrid train is a welcome alternative to areas known for their poor air quality.
So, in the future you may not hear the rumble of a diesel engine and the belch of black smoke on the tracks, but rather the quiet hum of a hydrogen fuel cell and a little cleaner air surrounding it.