British Rail Class 799

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British Rail Class 799 HydroFlex
319001 Sevenoaks to London Blackfriars (15096483538).jpg
319001 prior to conversion operating for Govia Thameslink Railway in September 2014
ManufacturerBREL as Class 319
Quinton Rail Technology Centre as Class 799
Built atYork Works
Family nameBR Second Generation (Mark 3)
Number built1 units
Fleet numbers799001
Car body constructionSteel
Car length19.83 m (65 ft 34 in) (DTCO, DTSO)
19.92 m (65 ft 4+14 in) (MSO, TSOL)
Width2.82 m (9 ft 3 in)
Height3.58 m (11 ft 9 in)
Prime mover(s)Ballard FCveloCity
Engine typeHydrogen fuel cell
Train heatingElectric
Electric system(s)25 kV Overhead line
750 V DC third rail
Current collection methodPantograph (AC)
Contact shoe (DC)
Coupling systemTightlock
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) standard gauge

The British Rail Class 799 is a one-off tri-mode multiple unit prototype adapted from a Class 319 electric multiple unit. The existing 25 kV AC and 750 V DC equipment has been retained with a hydrogen fuel cell added, currently taking up one of the carriages.


In September 2018, Porterbrook announced it would develop a hydrogen fuel cell demonstrator in partnership with the University of Birmingham's Centre for Railway Research & Education. In December 2018, Porterbrook procured an FCveloCity fuel cell unit from Ballard Power Systems.[1]

The unit was converted from Class 319 EMU 319001 that had last been used by Govia Thameslink Railway.[2][3][4] It was unveiled on 20 June 2019.[5][6][7]

In June 2019, it was announced that approval for mainline testing of the unit (branded as HydroFLEX) had been granted after a period of demonstration at Rail Live 2019.[8]

The first mainline testing occurred in September 2020, reaching 50 mph through Warwickshire. The next phase of the development of this prototype is move the hydrogen tanks and fuel cell from one of the carriages and suspend them beneath the train.[9]


  1. ^ "Ballard Receives Order From Porterbrook For Fuel Cell Module to Power U.K. HydroFLEX Train". Ballard. 12 December 2018. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  2. ^ UK hydrogen train demonstrator to be tested in 2019 Railway Gazette International 19 September 2018
  3. ^ Hydroflex – the next iteration of the Flex concept Rail Engineer 28 September 2018
  4. ^ The Hydroflex, UK's first hydrogen train Rail Live 2019
  5. ^ See UK's first hydrogen train Rail Live 2019
  6. ^ "Hydrogen trains: Are these the eco-friendly trains of the future?". BBC News. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  7. ^ Clinnick, Richard. "Main line testing of UK's first hydrogen train gets green light". RAIL Magazine. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Mainline Testing of UK's First Hydrogen Train Gets Green Light". 20 June 2019. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Hydrogen-powered train makes UK maiden journey". BBC News. 30 September 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2020.

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