A hydrogen train will run on the main line for the first time TODAY

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A hydrogen-powered train will run on the mainline for the first time today as part of a government plan to clean up our diesel-powered railways.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps hopes hydrogen trains start carrying revenue passengers in 2023.

Testing of the “Hydroflex” train will begin at Long Marston, Warwickshire, and will take place on the North Cotswold line from Oxford to Hereford.

Unlike diesel trains, hydrogen trains do not emit harmful gases. Instead, they depend on hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity, water, and heat.

The technology was developed by the University of Birmingham and Porterbrook, a rolling stock company.

There have been growing concerns about sky-high pollution levels around railway lines and station platforms. Thousands of trains run on diesel and less than half of the network is electrified.

Transportation Secretary Grant Shapps hopes hydrogen trains will start carrying revenue passengers in 2023

The Department for Transport wants to end the use of all diesel-powered trains by 2040 and the UK aims to achieve net zero emissions in 30 years.

Mr Shapps said: “As we continue on the path to a green recovery, we know that to truly harness the power of transportation to improve our country – and establish a global gold standard – we really need to embrace change.

“That’s why I’m excited that… we’re embracing the power of hydrogen and the more sustainable, greener forms of transportation it will bring.

Mary Grant, Managing Director of Porterbrook, said: “I am delighted to be able to announce our intention to begin producing Hydroflex trains, creating the world’s first dual-mode electric and hydrogen rolling stock, as well as generating significant opportunities for the UK supply chain. “

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash has called for the production of future hydrogen trains in the UK to help economic recovery from the coronavirus.

“The expansion of the UK manufacturing base for hydrogen trains could help support the decarbonisation of the transport sector and our economic recovery after Covid-19,” he said.

Testing of the 'Hydroflex' train will begin in Long Marston, Warwickshire, and will take place on the North Cotswold line from Oxford to Hereford.

Testing of the “Hydroflex” train will begin at Long Marston, Warwickshire, and will take place on the North Cotswold line from Oxford to Hereford.

“It is absolutely essential that all manufacturing be done nationally.

“The government’s investment in the rail manufacturing sector in the UK would create new skilled jobs and boost the economy as part of our green economic recovery from Covid-19. “

The Transportation Employees Association, meanwhile, lobbied for the government to “reinstate” its pending electrification plans for the country’s rail lines if it is to achieve a green transportation network.

The DfT hopes that the railroad breakthrough will enable more modes of transport to adopt environmentally friendly fuel.

Of its £ 23million ‘hydrogen for transport’ program, £ 6.3million will fund a green hydrogen refueling station and 19 hydrogen-powered garbage vehicles in Glasgow, a world first for size of the fleet, according to the ministry.

A master plan, due to be released in January, will pave the way for exploring how green hydrogen could power buses, trucks, shipping and airplanes, as well as rail, added a Whitehall spokesperson.

Following the development of the world’s largest multipurpose hydrogen in the Tees Valley, the transport secretary also announced his intention to make the region a so-called “hydrogen transport hub”.

It will bring together representatives from academia, industry and government to drive UK plans to adopt hydrogen as an alternative fuel, with the ambition of creating hundreds of jobs, DfT confirmed.

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