North America’s First Self-Powered, Zero-Emission Passenger Train Arrives in San Bernardino County


Passenger rail service between San Bernardino and Redlands, CA, will soon be running cleaner, with the arrival at the San Bernardino depot train station of North America’s first self-powered, zero-emission passenger train.

The train, a Zero Emission Multiple Unit (ZEMU), uses hybrid hydrogen and battery technology to propel the train and power onboard electrical systems. Water vapor is the only emission generated from the propulsion system.

The train’s arrival to Southern California represents more than 10 years of planning, including four years of development by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA), which saw the need for efficient, sustainable passenger rail as part of the regional transportation ecosystem.

“ZEMU’s arrival in San Bernardino is a significant milestone, recognizing years of strategic planning for a greener rail system and a commitment to innovative transportation solutions in San Bernardino County,” said SBCTA President Ray Marquez. “I look forward to county residents and visitors riding ZEMU on the Arrow line in the coming months.”

ZEMU’s journey began in eastern Switzerland at the Stadler headquarters. From there, it was transported by truck and then barge to Belgium, where it set off across the Atlantic Ocean. ZEMU arrived in the U.S. at the Galveston, TX, port in fall of 2023, where it continued its journey to the Transportation Technology Center in Pueblo, CO, for safety testing.

Stadler and SBCTA debuted ZEMU at APTA’s 2023 TRANSform Conference and EXPO in Orlando, FL, before concluding testing, when a Burlington Northern Santa Fe locomotive, coupled with ZEMU, pulled the new train more than 1,000 miles over two days from Pueblo to San Bernardino.

In the coming weeks, ZEMU will begin final testing on the Arrow line, and Metrolink system checks, with a goal of entering service later this year.