There’s been a lot of talk about California’s high-speed electric train (bullet train) speeding to and from all major cities in the Golden State with a hefty price tag of $37 billion. But, there is another new technology that has mostly slipped under the radar and that is: hydrogen trains.
Hydrolley (hydrogen trolleys) and hydrail (hydrogen railway trains) propose an alternative to the $4 million per mile external electrification charges for some electric trains and an alternative to the environmental impacts of diesel-powered trains. On the opposite end of the country in Charlotte, North Carolina there is ongoing discussion of hydrolleys and hydrail.
In fact, June 11 – 12, 2009 at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte will be the Fifth International Hydrail Conference. U. S. DOT director Walter Kulyk will be giving the keynote address.
Some of the topics will include hydrogen powered streetcars and commuter rail, mass production of hydrogen fuel for hydrail, the dawning of the hydrolley industry and a spotlight on Canada’s leadership in hydrogen train technology.
While many children grow up with electric train sets to be adults yearning for the life-size version there is an alternative. Hydrogen fuel cell trains are electric trains without the overhead lines or costly price tag of electrified tracks. It’s time to give hydrail a second and third look to see how the communities across our nation may benefit from lower costs and zero emissions of hydrogen trains.