News & Reviews News Wire News photo: Amtrak HHP8 tests as cab car

News photo: Amtrak HHP8 tests as cab car

By Trains Staff | December 3, 2023

Locomotives could see new life years after retirement

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Former double-ended locomotive being tested as cab car
A long out-of-service HHP8 operates as a cab car on a test train No. 826 on Dec. 1, 2023, at Leaman Place, Pa., on the Harrisburg line. Gary Pancavage

One of Amtrak’s retired HHP8 electric locomotives, with both pantographs removed, is being tested for possible use as a cab car. Amtrak is reportedly looking to bolster or replace its aging fleet of ex-Metroliner cab cars in the Northeast until Siemens’ new Amtrak Airo equipment arrives. The 15 Bombardier-Alstom locomotives, delivered in 2001, were plagued by reliability issues and retired by 2015. Trains News Wire will provide more information on the project as it becomes available.

— Updated at 12 p.m. CST to correct location and train number in caption.

12 thoughts on “News photo: Amtrak HHP8 tests as cab car

  1. The Bombardier-Alstom HHP8’s did not last in revenue passenger train operations as long as the fabled Pennsy GG1’s did for over half a century. The HHP8’s never did attain the glamour of the GG1’s whose premier operation closely coincided with the opening of Radio City Music Hall in New York.
    [I considered the GG1’s the railway equivalent of the Radio City Rockettes dancers for their high performance and as an icon of the East.]

    1. The HHP8s never even matched the appeal of the boxy AEM-7 “toasters” that followed the end of the GG1 era.

  2. The one thing that sticks out in my mind is that these HHP8s’ chassis are dual cabs, and perhaps could have been retrofitted for other purposes???
    Otherwise, any government owned RR rolling stock equipment that can be efficiently and cost effectively recycled, saving the taxpayers money, is OK in my book.

  3. The ex-Metroliners are doing OK in Harisburg service, but they date from the late 1960’s. Some of Strasburg’s wood cars were younger when they went back into passenger service.

  4. Here is a great idea for model railroaders who have the Bachmann HH-8 model in N scale to de motor them and put them on the back of their Amtrak passenger trains to represent push pull service. Whatever us modelers see in prototype must do in model scale. I had a few models of Bachmann’s N scale HH-8 8nits and were not the greatest runners and ran rather poorly. The models were just like their prototype cousins- lousy performers . Besides not very pleasing to the eyes and rather ugly looking too.
    Joseph C. Markfelder

  5. Isn’t it still pretty cool to see potential use for these retired unlucky rail giants?

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

    1. My sympathies, John. It’s an ugly beast. Worse than the depowered F40s used as cab cars in the Midwest.

      Years ago we had the depowered Metroliner cab cars on the Hiawatha but these were deemed inappropriate for a line with grade crossings.

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