October 2023 - read

HydroSHUNTER: major progress on the UK’s first hydrogen locomotive!

We are pleased to announce the achievement of several key milestones in the development of the first hydrogen-powered locomotive for the UK railway.

The HydroSHUNTER project, using Vanguard’s NEO1™ drivetrain platform design, is currently in build at the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) in Kidderminster.  A BR Class 08 shunting locomotive, owned by the SVR, is being retrofitted with this cutting edge drivetrain technology replacing the former diesel engine.  The locomotive has been refurbished by SVR volunteers and the installation of the new hydrogen/battery electric drivetrain is due to start next month.

The mechanical and electrical engineering design works are now effectively complete. Procurement is under way for the radical new system which will enable this shunter locomotive to take on a new lease of life as a zero-carbon shunter locomotive for the UK’s largest heritage railway.

Jonathan ‘Gus’ Dunster, Managing Director of the Severn Valley Railway said:

“The HydroSHUNTER project is important to us in so many ways. Not only are we leading the way  by helping to create the first hydrogen-powered heritage rail vehicle, but we’re also working towards being more sustainable by having a shunter that’s emissions-free at the point of use. What’s more, this project is the perfect opportunity for our young team of volunteers to develop their skills and make an invaluable contribution.”



The HydroSHUNTER project is a partnership between Vanguard and the Severn Valley Railway, supported by the University of Birmingham, to retrofit a shunter locomotive with a state of the art, zero carbon hydrogen/battery electric traction system.  Testing and demonstration of the new locomotive will begin in Spring 2024.