Britain looks set to return to the age of the steam train, with locomotives fuelled by Hydrogen.
These virtually silent marvels emit no greenhouse gases and produce water vapour as their only exhaust.
A prototype version of the vehicle, dubbed HydroFlex, has been tested out in Long Marston, Warwickshire.
Carriage space in this proof-of-concept version is currently taken up with the equipment needed to power the train.
The firm behind its creation will now create a working version that has this installed beneath and on top of carriages, freeing up space for passengers.
It is not yet known when HydroFlex will go into full service, but its manufacturer hopes to attract purchase orders from train operators across the nation.
HydroFlex was developed by railway rolling stock lease firm Porterbrook, based in London, with the University of Birmingham (UoB).
Initial tests involved system checks of each piece of equipment separately and working together.
The technology has been added to existing Class 319 trains in the prototype version, but theoretically can be fitted to any train, old or new.
This means that no new trains will have to be built to specifically incorporate the hydrogen drive system – meaning existing trains can be recycled, further conserving precious resources.
The UK government is currently developing the infrastructure to get hydrogen from renewable energy such as windfarms, which would make it a completely green source of fuel in the future.
Dr Stuart Hillmansen, senior lecturer at UoB’s Centre for Railway Research and Education, said: ‘Our prototype shows how hydrogen powered technology can be incorporated within existing trains, without needing to modify the drivers’ controls.
‘It’s an exciting advance because it shows how this technology could be adopted into the mainline system to deliver emission-free public transport.’