Norfolk Southern Railway is putting a zero-emissions battery-powered prototype locomotive to work in its Pennsylvania rail yard. Hybrid long-haul trains are in the company's future as well.
The NS999 is a 1,500 horsepower locomotive. Norfolk Southern will use it to move cars around the rail yard. 1,080 rechargeable 12-volt lead acid batteries store about a day's worth of power. The batteries add to their plug-in charging by charging with the energy from breaking.
Implications - By the end of this year, the VP of operations planning and support on the project claims the railway company will have built an over-the-road version of the locomotive with more batteries. Running first with a couple of diesels which wil help recharge the eco-train's batteries, Gerhard Thelan anticipates that eventually the battery engines will power a train by themselves.