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Head End Power Connector Products

From Northwest Rail Electric

Phone: (503) 231-4808, Fax: (503) 230-0572, E-mail


What is Head End Power?

We have a brief description of head end power elsewhere on our web site. HEP is a system of providing power on railroad passenger cars.


The following connector products

are distributed by Northwest Rail Electric for use in the Head End Power market. They are used to provide electrical connections on cars, locomoitves, or for station to car or locomotive applications.

These rugged, single molding head end power connectors from Clements National are approved for use on cars that are designed to be compatible with the Amtrak Head End Power system.


General Information


HEP Power Plugs

Part Number Coding:


MPA - X - XXXX - VO1
1 2 3 4
  1. Ingerally molded plug assembly with female contacts
  2. 1. - Fixed jumper assembly with cable attaching strain relief 2. - Double Ended cable assembly (portable) SR. - Cable attaching strain relief only (omit XXXX) L - Locomotive cable hanger (omit XXXX)
  3. XXXX - Denotes tip to tip length in inches. Standard stock length is 85 inches.
  4. VO1 - Denotes custom modification

Plugs may be ordered with the AMP # 326803 lugs crimped on the end of the wire, as required by Amtrak HEP standards.


HEP Power Receptacles

This is the connector end that goes into the receptacle housing, below. An explanation of the part number scheme:


MRA - X - XXXX - VO1
1 2 3 4
  1. Integrally molded receptacle assembly with male contacts
  2. 1. - Cable Assembly 2. - Double Ended cable assembly (portable) H. - Receptacle Assembly (omit XXXX - see below for more information)
  3. XXXX - Denotes wire tip to mounting flange length in inches (Not Applicable to MRA-H Units, Wire Tip to Mounting Flange applicable only to single ended receptacles). Standard stock length is 24 inches. Other lengths are available but are almost always long lead time.
  4. VO1 - Denotes custom modification

Receptacles may be ordered with the AMP # 326803 lugs crimped on the end of the wire, as required by Amtrak HEP standards.

Northwest Rail Electric also has available HEP Mounting Pates that will position the HEP receptacles on the end of the car in the required Amtrak and APTA locations.


HEP Receptacle Housing

The part number for this housing is MRA-H, and the receptacle (shown above) is fitted inside.

These receptacle housings are made of durable Aluminum, and are equipped with spring loaded lids that hold the plugs in place. The lid also keeps the contacts from been damaged, and helps ensure long connector life.

The standard color is red (shown at right), but other colors have been produced and are possible given sufficient quantity.


Portable HEP Jumpers

An explanation of the part numbers used for HEP jumpers and extensions:

MPA  - 2 - XXXX - VO1
MRA  - 2 - XXXX - VO1
MPRA - 2 - XXXX - VO1
1 2 3 4
  1. Integrally molded double-ended cable assemblies. Types available:
  2. 2. - Double Ended cable assembly (portable)
  3. XXXX - Denotes tip to tip length in inches over the body of the connector, as seen in the diagram below
  4. VO1 - Denotes custom modification

Standard length for extension cables for Wayside Power (Yard Power Systems) is 25 feet.


Communications and MU Parts

While not specifically part of the head-end power system, addition of communications and multiple-unit cables to passenger cars is usually done at the same time, if it is desired. Comm connectors are required for Amtrak compatibility, but MU is only required on certain routes. To that end, Northwest Rail Electric has a number of standard Comm and MU parts used in converting passenger cars to Amtrak compatible operation. We do not usually stock the locomotive cable lengths for receptacles and jumpers, but we do sometimes have that material as well. As our market is almost entirely railroad passenger cars we are rarely asked about these parts for locomotive use and therefore do not stock the required parts.


Standard Comm and MU receptacles.


Standard Comm and MU jumpers.

Some of our common Comm and MU parts include:

our Part #                 Description
----------------------------------------------------------
CPA-2760AMTK    Clements COMM Jumper, 60 inches

CRA-141P        Clements MU/Comm Grommet

CRA-27-AMTK     Clements Comm Receptacle

CRA-27-MUBK     Clements MU Receptacle

CRA-27180-AMTK  Clements Comm receptacle, 180 inch leads
                AMTRAK # WWRF27AMTK-L180

CRA-27180-MUBK  Clements MU receptacle, 180 inch leads

CRA-42S         Clements MU/Comm Jumper Pins

These are the parts usually required for converting a passenger car to HEP and allowing it to operate as a private car in Amtrak service. Northwest Rail Electric also has available mounting boxes for COMM and MU. See the bottom section of our HEP Mounting Pates page.


The following items may be of interest if you are working with HEP systems:


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