Established in Japan in 1957, Kato Precision Railroad Models launched a U.S. division in 1986 and began distributing an N-scale version of the General Motors EMD GP38-2 locomotive in 1987. Prior to that date, Kato model trains were sold in the United States under the Con-Cor and Atlas labels. Since then, Kato USA has been the exclusive U.S. distributor for Kato's N and HO locomotives and rolling stock, as well as Unitrack straights, curves, and turnouts.

Especially sought by collectors are trains made by the company’s Kobo Custom Division. All Kobo trains are hand assembled in Japan, and many feature Digital Command Control, or DCC, capabilities; custom lighting effects; and weathering—from rust on the wheels to faux dirt on the tops of hoppers.

The first Kato trains made for Con-Cor were the N-scale Alco PA-1 and its companion, the cabless PB-1, both of which were released in 1967. This diesel engine is associated with the postwar locomotives that powered the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads until the early 1950s. Kato’s relationship with Atlas was not as long-lived as the one it enjoyed with Con-Cor, but the introduction of the Kato-built Atlas Alco R-3 locomotive in 1983 was a milestone for Atlas and N-scale in general.

After Kato USA’s launch of the GP38-2 in 1987, a succession of classic locomotives followed, including the EMD F units and limited releases of EMD’s GP50 in 1988 and GE’s U30C in 1989—that last locomotive included a “low-friction drive,” producing a running effect that some aficionados now describe as the “Kato glide.”

Of its more recent trains, one of the best is still the 1996 USRA Heavy Mikado, an N-scale version of the steam engines built under the auspices of the United States Railroad Administration at the end of World War I. A Kobo version of this locomotive, equipped with DCC, debuted in 2008.


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Kato 126-0301 Southern Pacific-daylight 4-8-4 Steam Locomotive Gs-4 #4449 LnKato Gs-4 Steam Locomotive, Black With Southern Pacific Lines LetteringKato (2) Ho Scale Santa Fe Atsf Gp-35's Phase Ia Dcc ReadyKato Ho Maxi-iv Set Ttx #733134 (3)Kato (2) Ho Scale Southern Pacific Sp Ge C44-9w Dcc ReadyN Scale - Kato - Santa Fe F7a Diesel Locomotive Train 106-0402!N Scale Kato 4-8-4 Fef Union Pacific Steam Locomotive N Scale Kato 176-4809 Sd40-2 Sd-40-2 Milwaukee Road # 160 NosKato N Southern Pacific Morning Daylight Set With Lighting Installed 106-060N Scale Kato Southern Pacific Daylight Engine 4449 Dc/dcc Ready New In Box!!!!!Kato Unitrack Lot 105 Pieces N Scale Model Train Track Straight Curves SwitchesN Scale Kato 176-4808 Sd40-2 Sd-40-2 Milwaukee Road # 149 NosN Scale - Kato - Custom Chessie System Diesel Locomotive Train #3012 W/ Dcc!Kato Ho Maxi-iv Set Ttx #732958 (3)N Scale - Kato - New York Central E8/9 Diesel Locomotive Train 176-253 W/ Dcc!N Scale - Kato - 176-0910 Santa Fe F7a Diesel Locomotive Train #272!N Scale - Kato - D&rgw F3a Diesel Locomotive Train 176-1101 W/ Dcc!Kato Ho Maxi-iv Set Aok #55344 (3)N Scale - Kato - Custom Union Pacific C30-7 Diesel Locomotive #2843 W/ Dcc!N Scale - Kato - Seaboard System U30c Diesel Locomotive Train 176-178 W/ Dcc!Kato N Southern Pacific Daylight Articulated Sets 1,2,3,4 8 Cars TotalKato N Scale Sd70ace Union Pacific 176-8402 Oop Brand New! Ditch LightsHo Kato Canadian Pacific Sd90/43mac LocomotiveKato Ho Maxi-iv Set Aok #55359 (3)N Scale Kato Sd40-2 Snoot Bnsf Item#176-4901Atlas Ho Kato Rs-3 Diesel Loco Undecorated Nos Selling CollectionHuge Lot, Kato Unitrack Viaduct Crossing N Track 130 Pieces 23-035 036 037 045Atlas Ho Kato Rs-1 Diesel Loco Cnj Jersey Central Lines Nos Selling CollectionKato Steam Lackawanna 4043 N Scale Mint Cond Detailed Pictures No ReserveKato Burlington Northern 6 Car Box Set Smooth Side N ScaleN Scale Kato Sp Speed Letter Sd40 Road # 7379 Custom Painted Micro-trains/mtl Kato 2002 C11 2-6-4 Tank Engine Mint Cond N Scale Japan Fast Shipping No Reserve106-6116 Ttx 732000 No.3 ~ Gunderson Maxi-iv Double Stack Car ~ Kato N ScaleAtlas Ho Kato Rs-1 Diesel Loco Undecorated Nos Selling Collection Union Pacific Sd70m Engine No 4837 **** Kato N ScaleN-gauge Kato Smoothside Passenger 4 Car Set #106-1104 Great Northern *mint*106-6115 Ttx 732753 No.2 ~ Gunderson Maxi-iv Double Stack Car ~ Kato N ScaleN Scale Kato A176-4701 Sd40-2 Early Version Cn Road # 5931 Canadian NationalN Scale Kato Ac4400cw Bnsf Item#176-7112Kato V3 Variation 3 Unitrack Switching Set #20-862-1N Kato 106-097  smoothside Passenger 6 Car Bookcase Set: Via Rail CanadaKato 176-6400 Emd Sd70 Mac UndecoratedKato Undecorated Pa-1 Pb-1 SetN Scale - Kato - Seaboard Rsc-2 Diesel Locomotive Train #1500 W/ Dcc!N Scale - Kato - Southern Pacific Sd-45 Diesel Locomotive Train #8663!Atlas Kato N Scale Santa Fe Emd Gp30 #4733 Locomotive 1283 Japan - Perfect! New! Two Kato Emd Sd40 Locomotives Conrail 37-6324 Ho Scale N Scale - Kato - Seaboard Coast Line Sd-45 Diesel Locomotive Train #2005!N Scale - Kato - Seaboard Coast Line Sd-45 Diesel Locomotive Train #2017!*kato ~ Chicago Northwestern C44-9w Powered Locomotive # 8626 ~ N ScaleN Scale Kato Custom Painted Sd40-2 Ri Rock Island Road # 4679N-scale Built & Working Kato Train Layout 60in By 24in - Can Be Shipped By FedexN Kato 106-098  smoothside Passenger 4 Car Bookcase Set: Via Rail CanadaAtlas Ho Kato Rs-1 Diesel Loco Atsf Nos Selling CollectionKato 126-0208 Western Pacific Heavy Mikado Steam Locomotive W/ Tender Ln/boxKato N Scale Sd70ace Locomotive Lackawanna Heritage Ns #1074 Dcc Ready 1768503Kato ~ Dc Power Pack ~ N ScaleN Scale Atlas 54234 C-630 Cn Canadian National Road # 2029 Decoder Ready Atlas Ho Kato Rs-1 Diesel Loco Santa Fe Road # 2394 Nos Kato N Scale Via Rail Skyline Dome Car Canadian Passenger Car Train