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News, Ontario

Ontario seeking design concepts for hydrogen-powered GO trains

Posted on September 15, 2017

Ontario is electrifying the GO rail network to transform how people move around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), and is seeking design concepts for Hydrogen-powered trains as an alternative to conventional overhead wires.

Through the GO Regional Express Rail (RER) program, Ontario will deliver faster and more frequent electrified rail service on core segments of the GO rail network and UP Express. As part of planning the electrification, Ontario is undertaking a feasibility study on the use of hydrogen fuel cells. Recent advances in the use of hydrogen fuel cells to power electric trains in other jurisdictions makes it important that Ontario consider this clean electric technology as an alternative to conventional overhead wires. The Hydrogen Rail (Hydrail) Feasibility Study will inform a decision on how Ontario will proceed with the electrification of GO rail services.

“This announcement is a critical step to helping us understand the possibilities of using hydrail on our network,” said Robert Siddall, acting president and CEO of Metrolinx. “This procurement process will allow Metrolinx to identify partners with Bi-level EMU experience and capacity to integrate a hydrogen fuel cell system into their Bi-Level EMU products.”

A number of rail vehicle manufacturers will be commissioned to prepare designs and to demonstrate the impact that incorporating hydrogen fuel cells into bi-level trains would have on the performance of the GO rail network. This work is an important part of studying the feasibility of hydrail.

The province has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for concept design work to show how a hydrogen fuel cell system could be integrated into a Bi-level Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) train.

An EMU train is an electric-powered train consisting of multiple self-propelled carriages linked together. An EMU does not require a separate locomotive, as electric motors are incorporated in each carriage. Examples of EMUs currently in service include the Heathrow Flyer in the UK, the AGV in France and the TTC’s Toronto Rocket subway trains.

The Hydrail Feasibility Study is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2017, with a decision on electrification technology to follow.

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