Crews installing the foundation for a signal gate at Tippecanoe Avenue.

The Inland Empire Economic Partnership has awarded an Innovative Use of Technology Award to the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority for its plan to use hydrogen-powered zero-emission engines on the Redlands Passenger Rail Project.

The partnership’s eighth annual Red Tape to Red Carpet Awards recognized the authority’s plan to covert diesel multiple units to zero-emission using a $30 million from the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program grant through the California State Transportation Agency.

The zero-emission technology pioneered by the Transportation Authority will convert the diesel unit to all-electric, self-powered, clean rail vehicles that can operate on existing rail lines.

The authority approved the contract with Stadler U.S. in November 2019 to begin the manufacturing of the first two-car vehicle.

One of the primary goals in researching the technology was to ensure it was expandable and could be used as an example for other rail transit systems, said a press release from the authority. The ability of the zero-emission units to operate on existing heavy-gage rail lines is a potential game changer for commuter rail systems such as Metrolink. Converting to an all-electric passenger system without having to replace or construct new infrastructure, beyond upgraded fueling stations, to accommodate electric trains could potentially save hundreds of millions of dollars and expedite the conversion to cleaner trains.

Rail work

Crews installing the foundation for a signal gate at Tippecanoe Avenue.

Work on the Redlands Passenger Rail Project will disrupt traffic on Alabama Street from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday, according to the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.

Disruptions are also expected at the Eureka Street crossing from 7 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday.

Intermittent lane closures will occur from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on local streets throughout the corridor including Tippecanoe Avenue, Arrowhead Avenue, Mill Street, Orange Show Road, California Street, Nevada Street and Tennessee Street.