NS Charged Up About New Locomotive Technology

Norfolk Southern unveiled the latest in alternative energy locomotive technology at its Juniata Locomotive Shop in Altoona, Pa. NS 999 is a prototype 1,500-horsepower switching locomotive that relies solely on rechargeable batteries for power.

"At Norfolk Southern we strongly subscribe to the view that sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint are solid business objectives that also provide enormous benefits to the communities we serve," said CEO Wick Moorman. "By utilizing regenerated kinetic energy of the train and with no diesel exhaust emissions, NS 999 achieves those goals."

The prototype locomotive was developed by Norfolk Southern in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Federal Railroad Administration, and Pennsylvania State University. Congressman Bill Shuster (R-PA) secured $1.3 million in federal funding for the NS 999 project.

NS 999 is an entirely electric locomotive that uses a lead-acid energy storage system comprised of 1,080 12-volt batteries to operate in railroad switching applications without the use of a diesel engine and with zero exhaust emissions. The plug-in locomotive also can regenerate dynamic braking energy through a system provided by Brookville Equipment Company. The recovered dynamic braking energy continually replenishes the energy storage system, and uses this recovered energy for tractive effort in rail operations. The batteries are monitored and controlled through a battery management system to assure safety and maximum battery life. When fully charged, NS 999 is able to operate three shifts before recharging is required.