Norfolk Southern Unveils Experimental Electric Locomotive

ALTOONA, Pa. — 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.

“This prototype locomotive was developed by Norfolk Southern, with the help of an incredibly creative partnership, including the U.S. Dept. of Energy, the Federal Railroad Administration, and The Pennsylvania State University, for which we are grateful,” Moorman added. “We must also recognize Congressman Bill Shuster, as without his active interest and participation in this project NS 999 would still be merely a concept.”

Shuster 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 carefully monitored and controlled through an elaborate battery management system to assure safety and maximum battery life, and when fully charged NS 999 is able to operate three shifts before recharging is required.