A Hydrogen-Powered Train Is Coming to Quebec
It'll be the first in North America
Turns out cars and trucks aren’t the only types of transportation with a challenging path to be more environmentally friendly. Many trains are powered by diesel engines — and while some rail companies are experimenting with biodiesel fuels, the industry isn’t all the way there yet. But diesel engines aren’t the only way to power a train — and soon, the first hydrogen-powered train will make its debut in North America.
As Smithsonian Magazine reports, that’s the Train de Charlevoix, set to make its debut this June. And the route it’ll take when it begins operations will be a scenic one, running along the edges of the St. Lawrence River. Smithsonian notes that the company behind the trains, Alstom, also manufactured hydrogen trains that have been in use in Germany for several years now.
The route of the Train de Charlevoix begins in Québec City and includes stops in several coastal towns heading north. According to the train’s website, there are currently two options available to travelers — one shorter voyage, lasting around 90 minutes, and one longer one that lasts for several hours. At present, however, the hydrogen train is only running on the shorter route.
“[O]ur partner Alstom currently prefers to do tests and inspections on a smaller part of the route,” the train’s operator states on its FAQ. “But the ultimate goal after their studies is obviously to go to La Malbaie.”
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The company hasn’t provided any additional details about when the hydrogen train will begin running on the longer route. For now, though, it’s accepting bookings on both routes; should you venture to Quebec this summer, you might well be making part of transportation history.
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