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UK’s first hydrogen transport hub to open in the Tees Valley in plans for low-carbon commuting

Northern England, the home of some of the country’s oldest and most unreliable trains, is to lead a British transport revolution as a global centre for developing ­hydrogen-powered trains.

Transport minister Rachel Mac­lean has announced that the UK’s first hydrogen transport hub is to open in the Tees Valley to accelerate Britain’s ambitions for low-­carbon commuting. The Department for Transport has commissioned a ­masterplan to understand how hydrogen can power buses, HGVs, boats and aircraft.

A hydrogen-powered train – the prototype Hydroflex – travelled on Britain’s rail network between Warwickshire and Worcestershire for the first time on Wednesday and reached speeds of 50mph.

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Ms Mclean said on a visit to the Tees Valley that the UK was “blazing a trail once again” and the region would be ­pioneering the drive forward to develop the more sustainable, greener forms of ­transport that hydrogen power was ­capable of bringing.

The Government also announced plans to drive forward its green ambitions by funding 19 hydrogen-powered bin trucks in Glasgow.

Levelling-up agenda

The Department for Transport has commissioned a ­masterplan to understand how hydrogen can power buses, trains, HGVs, boats and aircraft (Photo: Aaron Chown/PA Wire)

The Tees Valley suffered a major blow in 2015 when the steelworks at Redcar closed with the loss of 2,200 jobs.

Ben Houchen, the mayor of the Tees Valley, said: “I’ve always said that if the Government wants to prove to the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that it is serious about its levelling up agenda, then bringing the UK’s first Hydrogen Transport Centre to our region would be a no-brainer. That is exactly what they have done and it shows once again how much they recognise the potential of our region.”

“Teesside has led the world in steel manufacturing and engineering for generations. Now we can become a trail blazer in the industries of the future.”