Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak F40 cabbage’

Second Life of an F40

May 26, 2020

Strictly speaking, this is not an Amtrak locomotive.

It may look like an F40 and it even has the same cab controls that an F40 has. But as far as Amtrak is concerned it is a now-powered control unit.

It can be used to run a train, but the motive power comes from the locomotive on the other end of the train.

In the cast of this train, that would be a P42DC on the north end of Hiawatha Service No. 334 shown in Glenview, Illinois, in May 1999.

No. 90222 began life as F40PH No. 222 in April 1976. It was converted to an NPCU in May 1998.

It may no longer be capable of pulling a train but it still cuts an impressive looking figure.

Rolling Out of Ann Arbor

April 15, 2020

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Cities has completed its station work at Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is departing for its next stop in Dearborn

The F40 on the rear is actually a car car, having had its prime mover and other engine parts removed.

It used to be F40PH No. 215 and probably pulled a number of trains past here in the past.

Amtrak trains on the Chicago-Detroit route are now all named Wolverine Service and F40 cab cars are seldom seen.

This photo was made on June 28, 1997.

Once Upon a Time in Sturtevant

December 16, 2019

Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service trains once stopped in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, at the former Milwaukee Road Station.

That was still the case on May 2006 when I was last there. Shown is a Milwaukee-bound Hiawatha with the Milwaukee Road station in the background.

That station was built in 1901 and featured an octagon-shaped tower at one end that can be seen above the train. The station was L-shaped.

The Milwaukee Road discontinued passenger service to Sturtevant in the mid 1960s. It was revived with the coming of Amtrak in order to provide intercity rail service to nearby Racine, Wisconsin.

Amtrak opened a new station in Sturtevant in August 2006 that resembled the old depot except it was built of brick.

The Milwaukee Road station was in danger of being razed but was rescued and moved in four pieces in October 2009 to a new site for restoration.

Pausing at Glenview

November 17, 2016

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A Hiawatha Service train pauses at the station in Glenview, Illinois, on May 25, 1996. It has the typical consist of the time of a former F40PH locomotive converted to a cab car or what Amtrak calls NPCU, four horizon fleet coaches and a P42DC providing motive power.

This is the image that appeared on the cover of my book Amtrak in the Heartland.

Meeting of the F40 Cabbage Society

September 8, 2016

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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.