USA: The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded Pennsylvania State University and Norfolk Southern a $400 000 grant to continue research into building battery locomotives. NS is to contribute an additional $590 000.

NS and Penn State began developing a prototype electric shunting locomotive in 2008. The new grant will allow researchers to continue exploring battery technologies, and apply them to a new hybrid locomotive for main line use. The work will run until December 2013, and aims to provide benchmarks for evaluating energy savings and emissions reduction from battery technology.

The project is 'an exciting complement to Penn State Altoona's new Rail Transportation Engineering baccalaureate programme', said David Wormley, Dean of the College of Engineering. '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.'