The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (BNSF) is developing a hydrogen fuel cell switch train in Kansas to reduce emissions and as an alternative to similar locomotives powered by fossil fuels. The project is in collaboration with Vehicle Projects LLC. Besides its traditional use, the hydrogen fuel cell switch train can also be used for backup off-grid power for civilian and military applications.
I’ve talked about hydrogen railway (Hydrail) trains several times before. I’ve spoken about how Vehicle Projects LLC was the first company to have built a hydrogen fuel cell train in 2002 and how Japan, Denmark, Canada and parts of the U. S. are powering forward with hydrail development.
Having a hydrogen railway system (along side a hydrogen highway system) is an idea that makes a lot of sense. Locomotives travel predictable miles and refuel in predictable places along the miles of railway tracks. The hydrogen railway infrastructure that needs to be set up for trains is minimal compared to the hydrogen highway system.
And, replacing the emissions from diesel engine trains with zero emissions fuel cell locomotives makes environmental sense and energy independence sense.