Rail fares could plummet if train operators switch to green fuel, a senior Aberdeen councillor said today.
John Reynolds has tabled a motion to Monday’s Aberdeen City Council meeting calling on rail authorities to replace diesel rolling stock with trains powered by hydrogen.
Mr Reynolds believes that, while forking out for those trains would be expensive, they would eventually pay for themselves as hydrogen can be generated from wind turbines.
Mr Reynolds said that would lead to cheaper fares for passengers and would also free up more cash for line maintenance – while emitting less pollution.
The Independent Alliance Group representative wants the council’s chief executive Angela Scott to write to her counterparts at local authorities on the lines between Aberdeen, Inverness and the Central Belt to back the move.
Mr Reynolds said: “European Union funding is available for these projects and other areas are snapping it up. There are opportunities for us to do so while it is still available, but it should be done as a matter of urgency. In Germany, they have just ordered 14 of these trains and they are also in the Netherlands, so why not here?
“On the Aberdeen to Inverness route, there are many wind turbines that could generate hydrogen and fuel the trains. The initial outlay on rolling stock is high, but the pay-off comes with cheap, environmentally friendly fuel, which means lower running costs and fares.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “Our ambitious programme for government includes a commitment to trial hybrid self-powered trains and we have been monitoring technological developments in this field, liaising with Abellio ScotRail, vehicle owners and manufacturers.
“There are a number of hybrid options available, including hydrogen trains.
“We are also working with industry partners to assess any new rolling stock options.”