I had this discussion with my brother on the way past the London - West Country line when we passed through Swindon the other day. The gantries that hold the electric wires for electric trains are a real eye sore. I think hydrogen trains are the way forward; less destruction of trees around train lines, less associated infrastructure and the same end goal achieved.
I think that hydrogen is an important means to balance the grid in a 100% renewable future as well. When there are peaks of renewable energy production water can be electrolysed to produce hydrogen (pretty cheaply) and then that can be used in transport.
Would be useful to have other people’s opinions on this - do we go electric or hydrogen in the future of powering railways? Perhaps @TinaFOSBR being our resident railway expert will have an opinion?