New Castle News


October 3, 2012

Federal grant to fund hybrid rail locomotive

NEW CASTLE — New Castle will be one of the work locations for development of a hybrid, emissions-free train locomotive.

Penn State University and Norfolk Southern Railroad are teaming up on the project, being undertaken with a $400,000 Federal Railroad Administration Research and Development Grant.

The work developed locally is being done using Axion Power International’s PbC lead carbon battery technology.

According to an Axion news release issued in June, Norfolk-Southern’s 100 percent electric (all-battery) switcher was being rebuilt at its Neshannock Township production facility using a new type of PbC lead-carbon battery suited for both electric and hybrid locomotive applications.

The battery, which bears Axion’s trademark, will repower the switcher called the NS-999.

The recent federal grant will enable Norfolk Southern to continue its research and development of the hybrid locomotive. Norfolk Southern is contributing $590,000 in private sector funding toward the project.

“The work that Penn State and Norfolk Southern Railroad are doing together to design and develop a hybrid road locomotive is exactly the direction the transportation industry needs to be headed,” U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster of Hollidaysburg noted in a statement issued by his office. “This grant will create jobs around the region and allow this partnership to continue its work developing cutting edge technology.”

Gerhard A. Thelen, Norfolk southern vice president of operations planning and support, was quoted in the statement as saying, “It’s a key and visible component of our overall program to keep rail at the head of the list of environmentally friendly transportation modes.”

Shuster’s statement also includes comments from David Wormley, dean Of Penn State University’s college of engineering, who said, “The hybrid locomotive initiative, in which Penn State and Norfolk Southern collaborate, is an exciting complement to Penn State Altoona’s new rail transportation engineering baccalaureate program.

“We are pleased that our faculty and students can continue their research on this project and contribute to development of new and innovative technologies for the rail industry.”

In 2008, Norfolk Southern, in coordination with Penn State and with support from Shuster, began developing of a prototype electric switcher locomotive. The federal funds will allow researchers to continue exploring alternative battery technologies and apply them to the new hybrid road locomotive.

The battery technology designed by Penn State and Norfolk Southern will provide useful benchmarks for evaluating future, alternative battery technologies in both switcher and line-of-road operations for energy savings and emissions reduction.

Work is to take place in Altoona, University Park, New Castle and Roanoke, Va. between now and December 2013.

According to Axion’s June news release, Norfolk Southern bought $400,000 of its PbC battery technology as part of a $475,000 total order that will be used in commissioning the hybrid locomotive.

Norfolk Southern’s next sustainable locomotive project will be a road unit, which the railroad company is considering equipping with PbC batteries — twice the number of those in the switcher, the release said.

Attempts to reach Thomas Granville, Axion’s chief executive officer, for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.

(Have you signed up for our free text alerts yet? Get daily weather, breaking news, Friday Night football scores and school news sent right to your phone! It’s awesome ... and it’s free! CLICK HERE)

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • vote.jpg County has more than 10,000 inactive voters

    This week 59,360 people in Lawrence County were recorded as registered to vote. However, 10,061 people — about 17 percent — of them are in inactive status.

    April 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Earthquake.jpg Geologist: Ohio’s response to earthquakes ‘inadequate’

    A Youngstown State University geologist called Ohio’s official response to the 12 earthquakes that occurred last month in Poland Township, Ohio “inadequate.”

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • school.jpg Wilmington board debates ‘free expression’

    Wilmington Area school directors weighed student safety concerns against free speech rights Monday. A proposed policy on student free expression and posting of materials drew concern from one board member.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • meehan.jpg Meehan named Neshannock superintendent

    Terence P. Meehan is the new superintendent at Neshannock Township School District. Board members voted 5-4 last night to fill the post that will be vacated June 30 with the retirement of Dr. Mary Todora.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • fire.jpg Fire guts Union Township house

    The state police fire marshal is investigating a fire in that broke out in a vacant Union Township house Monday. Union Township firefighters responded at 3 a.m. to 314 Smithfield St.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 08.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Community Easter morning service

    There’s a reason why most holidays last only 24 hours. It’s because when you’re finished celebrating, there’s still work to be done. The Rev. David Young reminded everyone who attended Sunday’s community Easter morning service at Lawrence Village Plaza of that.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow

  • money.jpg Retirements, attrition to save district money

    A slew of retirements in the New Castle School District may result in savings in the 2014-15  budget. The school district plans to introduce its spending plan next month.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fletch1.jpg No Retreat: Teacher’s golden retriever proves to be a hero, fighter

    It was last fall, and my favorite time of the year to be in the woods hunting. On this day, I could hunt small game and turkey, though my primary purpose was a hike in the woods with my dog, Maggie. This year was special. I also had my five-month-old golden retriever, Remi.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • fire.jpg Firefighters respond to gas leak

    New Castle firefighters responded to a gas leak Friday at the former Lincoln-Garfield school on Long Avenue. Assistant Fire Chief Mike Petrone said Columbia Gas received a call from someone in the 800 block of South Mercer Street about the smell of gas Friday morning.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • ATV.jpg City residents register complaints about ATVs

    Some North Hill residents expressed annoyance and frustration over youngsters recklessly operating all-terrain vehicles through their neighborhoods.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads

It’s been a unique week on the marriage front. Actress Jodie Foster married her longtime girlfriend, while a lesbian trio that wed last year, who bill themselves as a “throuple,” have announced they are expecting. What’s your take on alternative unions?

I’m against it. I believe in one man, one woman.
I’m OK with it. As long as they’re adults, they can marry whoever they want.
A lesbian “throuple?” Really? SMH.
     View Results