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Ballard Rail Blog

World's first fuel cell-powered tramline in Foshan, China completes four years in operation

2 minute read
Jan. 28, 2024

Hydrogen fuel cell-powered tram in Foshan, China

Since its launch as the world's first commercial tramline, the zero-emission solution in Gaoming District, China has successfully provided clean and sustainable transportation for more than 600,000 passengers over 425,000km. 

In December 2019, CRRC Qingdao Sifang, one of the world’s leading rolling stock manufacturers launched the world’s first hydrogen tramline – supported by Ballard Power Systems – operating in Foshan City. The heavy-duty fuel cell tram was jointly designed by CRRC and Ballard, meeting stringent rail safety and reliability standards.

The tramline consists of 10 stops across 6.5km, connecting Foshan’s urban center with Guangzhou South Railway Station – an expanding hub featuring large residential communities, administrative and commercial centers, and parks and factories.

Powered by two Ballard 200kW fuel cell engines, the tram achieves a maximum speed of 70km/h with a passenger capacity of 394. Having now enjoyed four years of successfully running the fuel cell trams, Ballard and CRRC have gained significant experience with hydrogen-powered rail systems, which will be positively applied to future projects.

Since the launch of the project, five hydrogen trams have provided clean and sustainable transportation for over 600,000 passengers, with residents appreciating its quiet operation without harmful emissions.

Seungsoo Jung quote

To date, the tram has recorded a total of more than 425,000km driven during 35,000 operating hours, while meeting the target of 97% fuel cell availability. The hydrogen refueling station at Zhihu depot has a daily capacity of 1,000kg of hydrogen and can serve a maximum of two trams at once. It takes just fifteen minutes to refuel the hydrogen trams, which provides 125km of range, and the facility has now completed more than 3,500 refuels for fuel cell trams.