Gallery: Norfolk Southern Unveils Zero Emission Plug-in Electric Train

ns 999, train, plug-in, locomotive

We’ve covered plenty of plug-in hybrid electric cars, and now Norfolk Southern Corp. is extending the same technology to locomotives with its prototype battery-powered train, the NS 999. The 1,500 horsepower switching train is powered exclusively by a series of 1,080 lead-acid 12-volt batteries. The best part – since the NS 999 doesn’t have a diesel engine, it releases zero emissions.

The train, developed in conjunction with the US Department of Energy, the Federal Railroad Administration, and Penn State, recharges its batteries during braking. When fully juiced up, the locomotive can operate three shifts before recharging.

The $1.3 million NS 999 may just be a prototype now, but it could radically cut down on the railroad system’s carbon footprint if widely deployed. The transportation sector in the US accounts for nearly a third of greenhouse gas emissions. Let’s hope the NS 999’s plug-in technology is commercialized before the US expands the national railroad system.

Via Boston Herald

+ NS Corp


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Daniel Bruce November 22, 2014 at 3:58 am

    This article is a bit old so I wonder where progress on electric locomotives is now.

  2. RetDispatch October 7, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Train: a locomotive, with or without cars, displaying markers. Sitting on a siding with all of its lights off it’s simply a locomotive, not a train. And you don’t want to be downwind of the coal-fired power plant that supplies the electricity to charge the batteries. Rocketship had it right.

  3. jeanX October 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    On East Coast, it’s largely coal-fired plants that supply electricity.The US has plenty of coal,
    but it kills people and removes mountain-tops.
    Once again, I had to guess that it’s on the East Coast.
    Please state exactly where it is?

  4. LordOfRuin October 7, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Yes, I agree that it’s hardly zero emissions, with the emissions coming from the power generation. However, huge power stations, even the most dirty ones, are still vastly more economical and less polluting than a diesel train. Further more, a recent report shows that most trains sit idling for a rather ridiculous amount of time, so the reduction of any emissions during those hours is a further benefit. Look, this is just good news all round. All transport should be like this. Trucking, cars, trains, and even motorcycles have all been proven to work with this type of technology, it just takes a little investment to make it the norm.

    Now all we need are advanced electrical storage systems that are environmentally safe (because batteries are definitely not), such as super capacitors, or hydrogen. Add to that clean method of energy generation, and we’re cooking.

  5. b3njamin October 7, 2009 at 1:54 am

    @rocketship “Please remember that there’s something on the other end of the plug!”

    What, like a solar panel, or a wind turbine, or, to a lesser extent, a nuclear power station? Oh yeh, that’s right, people refuse to believe in alternative forms of energy production, because they’re ‘ugly’ or, even less logically, ‘dangerous.’

  6. Worktop-Man October 7, 2009 at 1:44 am

    Your right Rocketship, although i guess its a lesser evil…. They could have made it look a better I think though. It looks like something made in the 60’s

  7. rocketship October 6, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Ummm…that would be “zero emissions when allowed to roll downhill, using only its brakes to generate power”. Please remember that there’s something on the other end of the plug!

  8. macfrickins October 6, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Wow, this is the biggest absurdity a have seen. Eletric train powered by huge pack of batteries? Did they heard about more ecologic way – electric trains powered via cords?

    and cut down footprint? common! do you really think one thousand big 12 volt batteries are ecological? and energy comes from air?

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home