By 2024, the Redlands Rail Arrow train could be powered by hydrogen.

Stadler, an international rail vehicle construction company, has signed the first-ever contract to supply a hydrogen-powered train to run in the United States. San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) awarded the contract with an option to order four more vehicles in the future.

The train of the [WPS1] FLIRT H2 type is planned for passenger service in 2024.

This is the highly anticipated Zero-Emission Modular Unit (ZEMU) train that will be introduced as part of the Redlands Rail Project.

The contract is valued at $23 million, which includes research and development as well as manufacturing of the pilot car. It also includes the option for an order of four more hydrogen propulsion trains.

 The ordered vehicle consists of two cars with a power pack in between. Stadler plans to manufacture and assemble the vehicle in Switzerland and complete type-testing in Europe before predicted delivery in mid-2023. The train is scheduled to enter passenger service in 2024.  

“Implementing innovative solutions like this first-of-its-kind passenger train is an excellent example of how we are demonstrating our commitment to the next generation in San Bernardino County,” Transportation Authority President Darcy McNaboe said. “The ZEMU will help us address the commuting needs of today while preserving our environment for a better tomorrow.”

Stadler is committed to designing and building green technology for the transportation industry.

“We are delighted that SBCTA shares our enthusiasm for this goal. We have had a great relationship with SBCTA so far and it is a great honor to bring the first hydrogen-powered train to the United States as their partners,” said Martin Ritter, CEO of Stadler U.S. Inc.

Stadler and the authority started their partnership in 2017, when SBCTA ordered three diesel electric multiple unit (DMU) FLIRT. The three DMU are intended to go into service for the future Arrow Passenger Rail Service, scheduled to run between Redlands and San Bernardino, connecting to the entire Metrolink system at the San Bernardino Transit Center.