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About us

The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Train Association (HFCTA) is a single-focused advocate organization based out of Los Angeles, CA promoting the use of hydrail as a solution for climate change by the elimination of diesel locomotive hydrocarbon emissions. Read more about the importance of reducing rail emissions here.


  • Work with all hydrail interested parties, organizations, and government agencies, promoting the environmental benefits of hydrail powered trains, locomotives, and systems

  • Offer hydrail powered train sets as an alternative to bio-fuel, overhead wire electrifications, or other more costly alternatives

  • Educate the general public about the benefits of hydrail 

  • Promote the establishment of hydrogen fuel infrastructure (i.e., generation, storage, transportation, and dispensing)


  • 1842: Sir William Robert Grove, a Welsh judge, inventor, and physicist, produced a small amount of electricity (and water) by mixing hydrogen and oxygen in the presence of an electrolyte. This invention later became known as a hydrogen fuel cell.

  • 1932-1959: English engineer Francis T Bacon, inspired by Grove's research, developed the first practical hydrogen–oxygen fuel cell.

Hydrail in the USA:

  • 1960- Present:  Pratt and Whitney licensed Bacon’s fuel cell patents in the 1960s and further developed the technology for use by NASA. The Apollo, Gemini and all subsequent NASA missions, including the Mariner space probe in the 1970's and space shuttle missions from 1981 to 2011, used HFC. Today, NASA funds more than 200 research contracts exploring fuel-cell technology, bringing the technology to a level now viable for the private sector.

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Gordon Jefferson

Founding Member

My background in Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) technologies began with employment at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as a member of the Mariner Spacecraft design team.  HFCs were used to power the first MARS space probe.


My love of railroading is a lifelong hobby.  I started as a Fireman on historical railroads, and became a state licensed Steam Locomotive Engineer in 2013.


Due to my engineering background in both steam locomotives and HFC applications, I was selected to be a member of a California state-financed technical commission in June 2020.  We were tasked to investigate 'on-the-horizon technologies' for application to future transportation systems.  I was assigned to investigate HFC powered trains.


During January 2021, I and several others formed the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Train Association.  With the crisis of global warming looming, people need to know, now, that we have viable, sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels and global pollutants.  We absolutely have the technological means necessary for a sustainable future.

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