When Amtrak got out of the express business, why did they not use the Material Handling Cars as baggage cars instead of ordering cats from CAF.  The baggage petson could have had some seat in the train or locomotive if it was unsafe to sit in tje MHC.

Or convert mote F40 locomotived to cabbage units....

The TEXAS SPECIAL:  The REAL RED streak of the golden prairies!

Original Post

You raise a good question, Dominic.  Perhaps the required modifications (new side doors, end doors. possible air brake modifications, as well as the general condition and remaining service life of the Material Handling Cars were not favorable in contrast to buying baggage cars.  Nobody but Amtrak knows what the tea leaves said about those things.

I don't think that "cabbage" conversions would be considered good solution to baggage transport except where they can be used as control cars at the rear of a train to avoid turning.  Since long distance trains, which carry full baggage cars, are turned at their originating and terminating stations, a cab car is not needed.  Cab cars also require Federally mandated inspections, the same as locomotives, plus maintenance of all the control components.  $$$$  Again, only Amtrak knows what they projected as cost for that project.

Finally, always remember that Amtrak is not a private sector railroad, and does not operate in the same way.  It will always be different, and must endure political factors not considered by private sector railroads.



Superintendent, High Plains Division (O Gauge) 

The Panhandle & Santa Fe Railway Co.

Lone Star Hi-Railers

Santa Fe, All the Way


As always a very thoughtful and informative post.  I also wondered why they just disappeared.  As you so correctly point out, only Amtrak knows. 

There is one sitting in the Chandler Railway Museum that is privately owned and appears just to be used for storage.  A little cleanup and a repaint would serve as a reminder of the days when Amtrak regularly had two to three right behind the locomotives.  I wonder what the disposition of the remainder of the fleet ended up being?  I assume several live on at Beech Grove, but just an assumption.   

Jonathan Peiffer


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