Amtrak NPCU

The NPCU or Non-powered Control Units are control cars used by Amtrak that are modified from surplus EMD F40PH locomotives. A control car is a generic term for a non-powered railroad vehicle that can control operation of a train from the end opposite to the position of the locomotive. They can be used with diesel or electric motive power, allowing push-pull operation without the use of an additional locomotive. Control cars first appeared in the USA and France in 1960s. Trains operating with a locomotive at one end and a control car at the other do not require the locomotive to run around to the opposite end of the train when reversing direction.

In the United States, most control cars are modified from retired locomotives by removing tractive equipment and adding side baggage doors and have been used on several passenger railroads. The control cars are connected through the consist of the train by standard AAR 27-wire multiple unit jumper cables.

The NPCUs at Amtrak are also referred as cab-baggage cars of simply cabbage cars. They are typically used on short-haul intercity services outside of the Northeast Corridor.


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