Promise of Hydrail Continues in Toronto


TORONTO – In September 2007, standing in Thunder Bay’s Bombardier manufacturing facility, former Premier Dalton McGuinty  thrilled the world of hydrogen powered rail. 

Dalton McGuiny
Dalton McGuiny (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Ontario Liberals think Ontarians can – and should – lead the development of hydrogen alternatives for the world,” enthused the Liberal leader. In a press release, the Liberals said, “The hydrogen commuter train is exactly the type of initiative envisioned when the Ontario Liberal government created the new $650 million Next Generation Jobs Fund”. McGuinty said. “Ontario Liberals want to expand the Fund by a further $500 million after the October 10th election”.

Each year a world conference is held to coordinate work by scientists and engineers on using hydrogen technology to power trams and trains, replacing diesel oil and overhead wires. TheseInternational Hydrail Conferences (IHCs) were begun in 2005 by North Carolina’s Mooresville South Iredell Chamber of Commerce and the Energy Center at Appalachian State University.

This year’s 8th International Hydrail Conference is being held in Toronto, Canada. Earlier IHCs have been in the USA, Denmark, Spain, Turkey and the UK. Hydrail research from 17 countries has been presented.

Germany—a world leader in transition to the hydrogen economy—will furnish three IHC presenters, including keynote speaker, Detlef Matthiesen , MdL, a Member of the Schleswig-Holstein State Parliament, who is active in environmental innovation.

Per Matthiessen , “The vision of zero emission trains depends on the availability of renewable energy sources and the technical possibility to make this clean energy usable for traffic systems. We need alternative energy systems; we need new technology in transport. We must also find answers for the challenges of economy. I am sure that we can find solutions already today and that 8IHC is on the right track.”

Dr. Holger Busche , who is organizing Germany’s first hydrail commuter line, and Andreas Hoffrichter , a doctoral candidate in hydrail technology, will also present.

Professor Weirong Chen of Southwest Jiaotong University will describe China’s recently introduced hydrail locomotive, developed by the University.

The promise of clean hydrogen powered rail has continued long after the promise made by the former Premier. It is now up to a new Ontario Government perhaps to pick up the opportunity.

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