The Welsh government is looking at running hydrogen-powered trains on the Wales and Borders lines.
A government spokesperson confirmed that the prospect of hydrogen trains is being explored by the new franchise which will be constructed and operated in a joint venture between Keolis and Amey.
Plaid Cymru AM Simon Thomas has led the calls for “clean” hydrogen-powered trains.
Thomas said: “Wales can once again be a place of innovators by establishing a dedicated team from our universities and councils to secure the funding for the local production and supply of hydrogen.
“The Welsh Government could use the opportunities provided by the new rail franchise and proposed Metros for the introduction of hydrogen trains and buses in Wales to ensure the air we breathe is non-polluting and fresh.”
It comes after Thomas commissioned a report on the potential to developing hydrogen infrastructure for transport in Wales.
The report by renewable energy consultant Guto Owen concluded that the Welsh Government’s “track-record” of hydrogen awareness creates “opportunities to fund transport”.
“This could result in overall cost savings when compared to conventional rail electrification and by establishing hydrogen hubs for multiple transport users to reach economies of scale”, the report said.
A Welsh Government spokesperson added: “We explored fully the option of hydrogen technology with bidders during the procurement process and will continue to look for innovation on the network into the future.”
Train manufacturer Alstom recently said that it expects the UK to be running hydrogen-powered trains within the next three years.
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