News & Reviews News Wire 90200 isn’t just any former locomotive

90200 isn’t just any former locomotive

By Bob Johnston | June 7, 2022

Once No. 200, it is the first of its class

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Amtrak charger locomotive coupled to cabbage control car
“Cabbage” car — cab control-baggage car — No. 90200 is converted from EMD F40 No. 200, the first of 30 such units delivered to Amtrak in 1976. Bob Johnston

CHICAGO—Non-powered control unit 90200 isn’t just any former locomotive that lost its prime mover and traction motors when converted to a glorified baggage car with cab controls. Seen here outside Amtrak’s Chicago locomotive shop on June 2, 2022, coupled to an Illinois-owned Siemens SC-44 Charger, the carbody once was number 200. It is the first of a 30-unit class of 4-axle EMD F40s, delivered in 1976, which ushered in an era of reliably-powered Amtrak trains for more than two decades. According to “Amtrak by the Numbers” authors David C. Warner and Elbert Simon, 22 of the more than 300 F40s built by the General Motors subsidiary exchanged innards for ballast as a part of their conversion. These “cabbage” cars continue to be mainstays on Maine’s Downeaster and Amtrak Cascades state-supported regionals in the Pacific Northwest, but have been utilized less and less in recent years on Midwest routes out of Chicago. Their “retirement job” will be complete once new Siemens-built trainsets with cab cars arrive in several years.

5 thoughts on “90200 isn’t just any former locomotive

  1. I don’t think they’re used on the Illini and Saluki, but they should be since CN requires more coaches than needed for signal activation. This would save the expense of “turning” the trains at both ends of the route.

  2. As a rider/ observer of the Chicago corridors I see lots and lots of steel being hauled down the road at each end of a short train. Years ago, ex-Metroliner cab cars (with passenger seats) were used as the cab at the end away from the loco, but these provided insufficient crash protection for the cab crew, in the grade crossing rich counties of the Midwest. What Amtrak (and the Midwest states who own the equipment) need is equipment to provide crash-rated cab plus baggage, plus seating, without all that tonnage going to waste.

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