Saudi Arabia is conducting tests for operating hydrogen-powered trains in the capital Riyadh, the first in the Middle East, as part of pro-environment efforts and an ambitious transport strategy.
Last month, the Saudi Arabia Railways (SAR) started the tests after signing an agreement with the French rolling stock manufacturer Alstom to ready this type of rail service to suit the kingdom’s weather.
“The aim of these tests is to achieve objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 to find clean fuel alternatives especially in the transport sector,” said SAR planning director Ashraf Al Jabri, referring to an ambitious Saudi development scheme.
He added that the current tests focus on key issues including operational systems and making use of other countries’ hydrail experiences as well as developing technicalities with manufacturers to adapt the service to the environment in Saudi Arabia.
“The environment in the kingdom differs from the European countries where the weather is cold. We are seeking to make the experience suitable to the atmosphere of the desert environment.”
The hydrogen-powered train is noted for zero-carbon emission, environment friendliness and a major innovation in sustainable rail transportation.
The official did not give a specific date for the start of the service.
According to SAR, the hydrogen train tests in Saudi Arabia are the first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has unveiled a series of pro-environment measures also aimed to tackle climate change.
In 2021, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Saudi Green Initiative, an effort aimed at planting 10 million trees across the kingdom, increasing the protected zones to 30 per cent of the country’s overall area and reducing carbon emissions by 278 million tons annually by the year 2030.