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Cabbage for Two

October 18, 2022 / Updated July 25, 2023

Model Railroading, News

Rapido Trains hosted a dealer open house earlier this month and announced several new products, including models of Amtrak’s NPCU “Cabbage” diesels in HO. In the mid-1990s, Amtrak began a rebuild program to convert retired F40PH locomotives into non-powered control units (NPCUs) by removing the prime movers. The NPCUs allow “push-pull” service, and engineers control the train from the cab similar to the way commuter trains operate. Many are still in service today. See more on Rapido’s models, as well as other new products in the marketplace. Visit Product News.

Current Issue: September/October 2023


Bright, shiny freight cars are showing in greater numbers on the North American rail network. New orders and deliveries increased in 2022 following a decline beginning in 2019 that the pandemic worsened in 2020 and 2021. According to a report from the Railway Supply Institute's American Railway Car Institute Committee, new freight car orders last year were significantly greater than the combined total of 2020 and 2021. Deliveries increased nearly as much.

But car builders are not out of the woods yet, as the first half of 2023 saw some ups and downs.


Too much of a good thing can be hazardous to model railroad operations. Adding more cars to a layout can place more pressure on yards and industries when running the railroad like the real thing. Three veteran operators share their thoughts about how to avoid logjams in yards, sidings and at industries. 


Computer-based applications that complement DCC are driving the new frontier of model rail road operations.


The Sunset Limited ranks as Amtrak's worst train in on-time performance, prompting a Surface Transportation Board investigation. The Southern Pacific's Coast Daylight, with its brilliant colors, was among the most beautiful trains during the golden age of passenger rail. A BNSF test locomotive that set the stage for future developments in alternative energy motive power technology arrives at an Oklahoma railroad museum.