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Kato N scale Union Pacific excursion train

Read this review from Model Railroader magazine
Kato N scale Union Pacific excursion train
Kato N scale Union Pacific excursion train

Complementing the Kato FEF-3, this N scale passenger set models some of the crown jewels of Union Pacific’s current excursion and business train fleet. The models are decorated to reflect the prototype’s present-day appearance.

The set includes power car no. 207, crew sleeper no. 202 Willie James, museum car no. 5779 Promontory, dome-coach no. 7001 Columbine, coach no. 5473 Portland Rose, dome diner no. 8008 City of Portland, and business car no. 119 Kenefick. Crew sleeper no. 202 was originally a 10-roomette, 6-bedroom sleeper built by Budd Co. in 1949. Museum car no. 5779 was originally a mail storage car built by St. Louis Car Co. in 1962.

Most of the models were previously tooled for the Kato N scale City of Los Angeles set (see the review in the July 2011 Model Railroader). The major dimensions and window arrangements of these models match prototype drawings and photos in The Union Pacific Streamliners by Harold E. Ranks and William W. Kratville (Kratville Publications) Power car no. 207 is a newly tooled model. American Car & Foundry built the prototype in 1949 as a baggage-dormitory car (no. 6004) that was modified into steam generator/baggage-dormitory car no. 303 in the early 1960s. The car was eventually upgraded into a diesel-electric generator car before being renumbered to 207 in 1987. As on the prototype, the car has a six-wheel truck under the generator end. The model’s dimensions match a diagram in the Streamliners book, while the window arrangement and other details match  photos of the contemporary prototype.

The business car is also a new model, and its dimensions match a prototype diagram in Union Pacific Business Cars, 1870-1991 (Greenberg Publishing Co. Inc.). The no. 119 was originally built by Pullman-Standard as a coach in 1950, rebuilt into a business car in 1963, and renamed Kenefick in 1988.
Union Pacific business car
The newly tooled UP business car includes a working taillight.

Model construction. The cars’ plastic body shells are press-fit. The clear window glazing is a plastic strip with each individual window raised with black trim to simulate a flush fit. The one-piece interiors are molded in light brown plastic and include seats, tables, room dividers, and other details.

A die-cast metal weight and two metal track power pickup strips are sandwiched between the interior and the car’s plastic frame. The strips and the truck-mounted wheel wipers are useful for those who wish to add an interior lighting kit (sold separately for $22.50).

Unlike the prototype, the couplers are truck-mounted, which helps the N scale cars negotiate tight-radius curves. The couplers feature a centering spring; however, some of the cars required repeated attempts before they coupled. The spacing between the cars is close to that of the prototype, with only a sliver of daylight between the diaphragms.

All the cars stayed on the rails as they rounded the 15" radius curves of Kato Unitrack. The cars’ low-profile metal wheelsets also work on code 55 track.

Along with the new FEF-3, this set makes it easy to add modern-era excursion specials to an N scale layout.

Price: $250 (7-car set), $350 (with factory-installed interior lighting)

Kato USA Inc.
100 Remington Rd.
Schaumburg, IL 60173 

Era: 1990s to present (as detailed)

▪▪Metal low-profile wheels, in gauge
▪▪Track power pickups on all trucks
▪▪Truck-mounted Kato knuckle couplers at correct height
▪▪Weight: 1.2 ounces (.2 ounce too light according to NMRA RP-20.1), Business car and dome diner weight 1.3 ounces (.1 ounce too light according to RP-20.1)

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