Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Kato N scale Norfolk Southern heritage SD70ACe locomotives

Read this review from Model Railroader magazine
Kato USA N scale EMD SD70ACes in Illinois Terminal, Lackawanna, Virginian Ry., Erie, and Norfolk Southern liveries.
Kato N scale SD70ACes in Penn Central, Jersey Central, Savannah & Atlanta, Wabash, and Reading paint schemes.
Price: $135

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

Era: 2012 to present (as painted and detailed)

Road names: (NS heritage fleet): Erie, Illinois Terminal, Jersey Central, Lackawanna, New York Central, Penn Central, Reading Lines, Savannah & Atlanta, Virginian, Wabash. Norfolk Southern modern scheme, nos. 1007 and 1009, also available.

Comments: In 2012 Norfolk Southern painted 20 diesel-electric locomotives (10 Electro-Motive Diesel SD70ACes and 10 General Electric ES44ACs) in paint schemes inspired by its predecessor railroads. Kato USA has introduced the EMD half of the fleet in N scale.

The model is based on the N scale SD70ACe that I reviewed in the October 2009 issue. Kato modified that tooling to accurately reflect a contemporary SD70ACe, including adding the seam for the isolated cab and the “Y” antenna configuration on the cab roof.

All 10 of the heritage paint schemes (and two numbers in the modern NS scheme) match prototype photos published in the Trains special issue, Norfolk Southern’s Heritage Power (Kalmbach Publishing Co.). All lettering is crisply printed and straight.

The Kato model uses the same quiet and reliable mechanism as the 2009 release. A can motor with dual brass flywheels is encased inside the split die-cast metal frame. The model’s 4 ounce weight and all-wheel drive contribute to its respectable 1.3 ounce drawbar pull, which is equivalent to 31 N scale freight cars on straight and level track.

The model has a minimum radius of 9" and its operating knuckle couplers are mounted at the correct height.

The model’s all-wheel electrical pickup ensure that its light-emitting diode (LED) headlight didn’t flicker as I ran it through turnouts, crossovers, and uneven track. The LED headlights operate automatically according to the model’s direction.

During speed tests on our direct-current test track, the Kato SD70ACe accelerated smoothly from less than 1 scale mph at 2 volts (V) to a top speed of 120 mph at 12V. The prototype has a top speed of 75 mph.
Converting the models to Digital Command Control is straightforward. Both Digitrax and Train Control Solutions make board-replacement decoders for the model. Kato has instructions for installing the decoders posted on

Accurate detailing and decoration makes these SD70ACes from Kato must-have locomotives for modern-era N scale operators as well as collectors.

Join the discussion

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.


Add more operational possibilities to your layout.

Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Model Railroader magazine. Please view our privacy policy