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 106-060 Southern Pacific Morning Daylight 10-car Set W/display Unitrack NibN Scale - Kato - Cb&q Heavy Mikado Steam Locomotive & Tender #5506 W/ Dcc!Kato 126-0301 Southern Pacific-daylight 4-8-4 Steam Locomotive Gs-4 #4449 NibKato 176-20a N Diesel Locomotive Engine Emd Sd40 Pennsylvania Prr Rd# 6057 2of2N Scale Kato 176-9006 Amtrak #334 F40ph Ph3 Diesel LocomotiveKato 176-20b N Diesel Locomotive Engine Emd Sd40 Pennsylvania Prr 6086 Lnib 1of2Kato N Uni-track Mixed Lot Of Track Sections, Jm4Kato 176-4901 N Emd Sd40-2 Snoot Diesel Locomotive Engine Train Bnsf 6799 LnibKato N 176-5353 Union Pacific Emd E9b B-unit Diesel Locomotive Engine Nib 2of4Kato N 176-5352 Union Pacific Emd E9b B-unit Diesel Locomotive Engine Nib 4of4Kato 106-6201 N Scale Diesel Locomotive Engine Emd F40ph Amtrak Rd 339 Lnib 1of237-2901 Kato Ho Gauge Dcc No Sound Burlington Northern Sante Fe #6799 DieselHo Scale Kato Alco Rs-2 / 37-2000 UndecoratedKato N 106-0401 Erie Lackawanna Emd F7 B-unit Diesel Locomotive Engine Lnib 1of2Ho Scale Kato Emd Sd90/43mac 37-6354 Union Pacific #8104 Kato N 176-4819 C&nw Sd40-2 Early Diesel Locomotive Engine W/ Dyn Brake Nib 3of3Ho-kato Canadian National (ex-ic) Sd40-2 #6253Kato #37-2804 Soo Line Sd40-2 Diesel Locomotive"n" Kato Item 137-2001 4-6-6-4- Gg1 Electric Locomotive "pennsylvania"N Kato 176-268 Bn #9943 E8 / E9 A Unit Diesel Locomotive Burlington NorthernN Scale - Kato - Unitrack Double Crossover Turnout!Ho Scale Kato 37-04f Up #749 Gp35 Ph1b Diesel Locomotive Union PacificKato N 176-4818 C&nw Sd40-2 Early Diesel Locomotive Engine W/ Dyn Brake Nib 2of3Kato N 176-4804 C&nw Sd40-2 Early Diesel Locomotive Engine Falcon Serv Lnib 1of3Atlas Ho Gp-7 Locomotive, Erie Lackawanna, Kato Drive, BfKato 176-4504 N Diesel Locomotive Engine Alco Rs-2 Delaware Hudson D&h 4025 NibN Kato 176-267 Bn #9942 E8 / E9 A Unit Diesel Locomotive Burlington NorthernN Kato 176-264 Up #934 E8 / E9 A Unit Diesel Locomotive Union PacificKato N P42 Superliner Starter Set, Amtrak/phase V Kat1060017 Kato N Scale Bnsf C44-9w #4972 WeatheredKato 106-6201 N Scale Diesel Locomotive Engine Emd F40ph Amtrak Rd 333 Lnib 2of2Kato N Scale Sd90/43mac #8026 With Drop-in Decoder Dcc/sound Mrc N Scale Kato Amtrak 3 Car Passenger Set *wysiwyg*Kato N 176-5316 Union Pacific Emd E9a A-unit Diesel Locomotive Engine Nib 3of4Kato 176-7032 N Diesel Locomotive Engine Ac4400cw Chicago Western C&nw 8835 LnibKato N 176-5315 Union Pacific Emd E9a A-unit Diesel Locomotive Engine Nib 1of4Kato N Scale - Ns Heritage - New Jersey Central - Sd70ace Kato N Scale - Ns Heritage - Erie Railroad - Sd70ace Kato N 106-0503 Rio Grande D&rgw Pb-1 B-unit Diesel Locomotive Engine Lnib 1of2Ho Scale Kato Sante Fe #5015 Emd Sd40 Diesel Locomotive N Kato 176-282 Sp #6053 E8 / E9 A Unit Diesel Locomotive Daylight Southern Kato N-scale 176-4706 N Union Pacific Emd Sd40-2 Locomotive #4213N Kato 176-281 Sp #6047 E8 / E9 A Unit Diesel Locomotive Daylight Southern N Kato 176-294 Up #935b E8 / E9 B Unit Diesel Locomotive Union PacificHo Kato 37-1309 Up #9700 Ge C44-9w Dash 9 Diesel Locomotive Custom Union PacificN Scale - Kato - Amtrak Phase Iii F40ph Diesel Locomotive Train #376 W/dcc!Kato N Scale F7a Sante Fe Yellow Bonnet #304 1 Of 2Kato N Scale Southern Pacific Ge C44-9wHo Scale Kato Ge C44-9w "dash 9" 37-1209 Southern Pacific Kato N Scale Locomotive (dcc) Sd70ace Diesel Bnsf Swoosh #9370Kato Ho Scale ~ Southern Pacific Sd-40 Diesel Locomotive 37-01d ~ NewLot Of Vintage Atlas & Micro-trains N Scale 9mm Trains W/ Kato Mikado LocomotiveKato N 106-0503 Rio Grande D&rgw Pa-1 A-unit Diesel Locomotive Engine Lnib 2of2N Kato 176-265 Up #926 E8 / E9 A Unit Diesel Locomotive Union PacificKato N Scale 106-0901 Wabash Alco Pa-1 A-unit Diesel Locomotive Engine Nib 1of2Kato Atlas 4475 N Diesel Locomotive Engine Ge U25b New York Central Nyc LnibN Kato 176-295 B&o #2416 E8 / E9 B Unit Diesel Locomotive Baltimore OhioN Scale Kato Santa Fe Ge C44-9w Model Train EngineHo Scale Kato Sante Fe #5018 Emd Sd40 Diesel Locomotive Kato N Scale 106-0901 Wabash Alco Pa-1 A-unit Diesel Locomotive Engine Nib 1of2