UoB students build UK's first hydrogen powered train

At the start of July, a team from the University of Birmingham competed in the inaugural IMechE Railway Challenge to design and build a railway locomotive that would meet various targets for traction, ride and energy storage. The team decided at an early stage to do something a bit different, and drew upon the University’s diverse range of skills and knowledge to design and construct the UK’s first hydrogen powered train!

The final design exceeded all expectations with the 320kg locomotive hauling loads of up to 4,000kg. The hydrogen system worked quietly, efficiently and cleanly throughout the two day event, in sharp contrast to its fossil fuelled competitors. The loco also featured high efficiency permanent magnet motors, adjustable air suspension system (mountain bikers would recognise certain parts), and an advanced touch screen Wi-Fi operated remote control system.

The team was predominantly from the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, with further invaluable support from the Schools of Metallurgy and Materials, and Chemical Engineering. Such a ground breaking design would not have been possible without further generous support from the University’s Circles of Influence alumni fund.

Watch the train in action on YouTube.