Meeting of the F40 Cabbage Society

amtrak-hiawathas-may-20-2006-sturtevent-02

I was in Sturtevent, Wisconsin, at the former Milwaukee Road station, which Amtrak still used back in 2006. By chance a pair of Hiawatha Service trains arrived at just about the same time.

That wasn’t planned. The schedule was for one of them to arrive slightly ahead of the other. That one of them was late was fine with me because it meant that I could photograph them having a meet.

As was the practice back in 2006, the southward facing “motive power” was a pair of F40 cabbage cars. The term comes from the fact that these units were built from former F40PH locomotives that had had their prime movers removed and replaced with a baggage compartment.

Sturtevent did not have an Amtrak agent so no checked baggage was handled there on this day.

In Amtrak lingo, these are non-powered control units or NPCUs. To me, they looked very much like the F40s they used to be.

For many trackside observers of Amtrak — myself included — the F40 was the face of Amtrak during our formative years. Sure, I remember E units and SDP40Fs, but the F40 pulled many of the Amtrak trains that I rode and photographed for more years than I rode behind or captured the motive power that preceded them.

There remain a number of these former F40s in service and some have been repainted into Amtrak’s current Phase V livery.

But I most often associate F40s with Phase III, which these units in Sturtevent are still proudly wearing.

 

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