Some implementations in Europe
Most European countries have a higher percentage of electrified line than Britain, but still face similar decarbonisation issues. Switzerland is the only country with fully electrified track. Most other countries have track electrification projects, but this is very costly and would take decades to complete. So at the same time they are planning, with varying degrees of urgency, to replace diesel trains with electric ones. Most of the train suppliers in Britain also serve continental countries, and all are likewise overhauling their train models to do this.
Currently, some 3,500 km of the 4,865 route km (some 73%) of Austria's rail network is electrified, and the 2017 decarbonisation plan (in German), aims for 85% by 2030 and 89% by 2035. At the same time, battery and hydrogen alternatives will be introduced on unelectrified lines, so that diesel trains can be withdrawn from the entire network by 2030. The latest investment plan plans 500km of track to be electrified by 2030, with investments in electricity from hydro and solar.
As for hydrogen, the Coradia iLint (see Germany below) is being tested on more demanding lines around Wiener Neustadt in autumn 2020.
The narrow-gauge Zillertalbahn has ordered 5 units from Stadler to replace its aging diesel locomotives, due to be operational by end 2022. The hydrogen will be locally produced, using the Zillertal's existing hydro-electric plant (some 30% of Austria's total capacity).
(Stadler is also building FLIRT H2 for San Berdardino in California, max speed 130kph.)
Manufacturers are being invited to test battery-powered trains on 2 lines in Denmark in 2020-1, with a view to them entering service in 2025.
- testing of Alstom Régiolis with additional batteries are planned to be started in Alsace in 2021, with a view to full implementation in 2023
- if a trial in Occitanie is successful, the region plans to replace the diesel in all of its 27 existing Bombardier bi-modes with batteries; the battery range is given as 50-80km, with the first implementations in 2022
- testing an adaptation of Alstom's Coradia iLint is planned in 2021 with the view of roll-out from 2022.
At the end of 2019, 20,345 of 33,291km (61%) of Germany's track was electrified, and the plan is for this to rise to 70% by 2025. This will still leave some 10,000km of unelectrified track.
- Schleswig-Holstein have ordered 55 Stadler Flirt Akkus, in operation from end 2022, range of up to 150km.
- 20 Siemens Mireo Plus B trains have been ordered for part of the Ortenau network in Baden-Württemberg (N part of Black Forest), 80km range as 2-car, 120km as 3-car, delivery by June 2023.
- Also in Baden-Württemberg, the hydrogen version of this, the Mireo Plus H, is scheduled for a year-long trial, along with production of green hydrogen. This version has ranges of up to 600 km as a two-part train, and from 800 to 1,000 km as a three-part train. Both versions have a top speed of 160kph.
- Verkehrsverbund Mittelsachsen have ordered 11 Alstom Coradia Continental for use on Chemnitz-Leipzig line, delivery from 2023, up to 120km range, charging time 30 mins.
- The 12-month trial in Alb-Bodensee (S part of Black Forest) of Bombardier's Talent 3 units, a collaboration with the Berlin Technical University with partial funding by the Federal Government, has been delayed until 2021. These units are advertised with a top speed of 160kph, and a range of 100km. The Talent 3 programme will have to be divested by Alstom as part of its takeover of Bombardier Transportation, so its future is unclear at present; it seems however reasonable to assume the future owner will be keen to expand it.
- Alstom's hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint has acquired much publicity, being operational on the Elbe-Weser network (west of Hamburg) since 2018, with a top speed of 140kph. 22 further units are ordered for those lines, with delivery from 2022, and Alstom has a further order of 27 for the Taunus network (north-west of Frankfurt), also with delivery from 2022. For the latter, the plan is to use by-products from the chemical industry in Hoechst. The hydrogen for Elbe-Weser is provided by Linde, and the plan is for it to eventually be produced from local wind turbines. The Niederbarnimer Eisenbahn (north of Berlin) is also planning on using the iLint, and in this case there is already a local wind-powered hydrogen-generator, a pilot plant installed in 2011 by Enertrag which could be enlarged
MAV-Start have issued a call for tender for battery-powered trains in Hungary; range up to 80km at a speed of 100 km/h.
- Ferrovie Nord Milano has ordered 6 hydrogen-powered Alstom Coradia Streams, with an option for 8 more, delivery starting in 2022.
- FS and SNAM are also cooperating with Alstom to evaluate hydrogen-powered trains, with the aim of rapidly converting trains currently powered by diesel.
- following successful testing, Groningen is planning to replace diesel with the Alstom iLint, delivery 2021-4.
- Friesland originally hoped to fully batterify their trains by 2025, but have now postponed this to 2035, or earlier if possible. Concession holder Arriva will however from 2021 be using Stadler Winks, running partially on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a biodiesel powering batteries.
- a main thrust of the PNI2030 National Investment Plan is a programme of electrification (Annex A.1, F5)
- CP have ordered Stadler Flirt bi-modes, initially running on diesel, but with the option of later converting to battery.