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 10-198/199 Tgv 10 Cars Set In One Package Orange Scnf N ScaleKato N Scale #176-4805 Sd40-2 Csx W/ Dcc Installed And Custom Weathering - JaN Scale Kato C44-9w Custom Painted Norfolk Southern "honoring Our Veterns" ShellLot Of Two (2) N-scale Kato Usra 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado LocomotivesKato N Scale Southern Pacific Gs-4 Steam Non Running Loco No ReserveUtah Belt Kato Ho Sd-40Kato 37-6362 Ho Sd90/43mac Union Pacific Up #8242 Led Lighting W/dcc (also Dc)Kato N-scale Track LotKato N Scale Gg1 Pennsylvania EngineKato 10710-2 10711-2 Amtrak Acs-64 & Amfleet Coach 7 Cars Set (n Scale) HtrKato N Scale 176-6405 Sd70 Mac Tfm W/ Dcc Installed - Prof.weathered- Mint - JaKato N Scale Unitrack Large Lot Train Tracks,cement, Bridge, Switch Track XN Gauge Train Kato Usra 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado Union Pacific 2716Kato Ho C44-9w Locomotive, Union Pacific 9564, Tsunami Dcc, Sound, SoAtlas Alco C425 Undecorated - Original Run - Yellow Box Made By KatoKato Unitrack Straight, Curves, & Switch & More N ScaleKato Ho 37-6452 Sd70mac Locomotive, Bnsf 9959, FwKato 176-8203 N Scale Emdsd40-2 Bnsf (furx W/ Custom Paint) Dc & Runs Nice - JaKato Sd80mac 37-6345 Norfolk Southern #7202 Ho Scale Kato N Scale Santa Fe Rdc Car Powered No ReserveLife Like N Scale #7431 Fa1 , #7431 Fb1 , #7639 Fb2 Undecorated LocomotivesUsed In The Case Kato Emd Gp-30 Locomotive Csx #4228Kato - N Scale - Emd F3aba - All 3 Units Powered, Dcc Ready - D & RgwKato Train ( N Scale) Maersk Gunderson Maxi-1 Double Stack 5-car Set 106-6190Kato Conrail Emd Sd40 Sd-40 Locomotive No. 6324Kato 176-8203 N Scale Emdsd40-2 Bnsf (furx W/ Custom Paint) Dc & Runs Nice - JaUsed In The Case Kato Emd Gp-35 Locomotive Western Maryland #3578 With DccKato 176-8410 Sd70ace Wp 1983 Diesel Locomotive New In Box N GaugeKato Ho C44-9w Locomotive, Union Pacific 9575, Tsunami Dcc, Sound, SoN- Kato 106-6161 Gunderson Maxi-iv 3-car Articulated Stack Ttx No ContainersKato 20-851-1 Unitrack Basic Oval & Passing Set W/ Power Pack N Train Layout NewKato Smooth Side Passenger Train With Extra Cars 106-017N- Kato 176-6307 - Emd Sd70mac Diesel Loco - Csx 701 - NibKato Ho 37-6451 Sd70mac Locomotive, Bnsf 8802, FwN Scale Kato E8's Union Pacific Parts Repair Qty 2 Maersk 100000 Maxi-i Double Stack Set W/containers Kato N 106-6157 [s23s17]Kato N Scale Union Pacific Passenger 4 Car SetKato 176-291 Emd E8/9 Amtrak #466b Diesel Locomotive N Gauge Train - Runs Great!Kato 176-318 Emd Sd45 D&h #803 Diesel Locomotive N Gauge Train - Runs Great!N Scale Kato 106-7121 2-car Set Amtrak Passenger Coach & Baggage Kato N Scale Undecorated Engine 2001-4 Mint No ReserveTtx 732386 Maxi-iv Double Stack Set W/containers Kato N 106-6162 [s23s16]Custom Ho Kato Sd40-2 Furx Custom Kato N Scale Undecorated Engine 2001-4 Mint No ReserveKato Rs-3 Milwaukee Road Powered Diesel #2150 - Kadee CouplersTtx 751193 Maxi-i Double Stack Set W/containers Kato N 106-6144 [s23s19]Bnsf 239702 Maxi-i Double Stack Set W/containers Kato N 106-6154 [s23s18]Kato N Scale Amtrak P42 With 4 CarsKato #176-206 N Scale Chessie Sd40 Locomotive Runs Forward/reverse Lights Nice!Ho Scale Kato Union Pacific Sd90mac Dcc/soundUsed Kato N Scale Bn Emd Sd 70 Mac Locomotive With Dcc Sound Card InstalledKato Ho Scale Burlington C B & Q Emd Nw2 Diesel Locomotive-item #37-10f--projectKato 10-227 M250 Series Super Rail Cargo Amtrack SuperlinerTtx 732171 Maxi-iv Double Stack Set W/containers Kato N 106-6122 [s23s22]Ttx 765690 Maxi-iv Double Stack Set W/containers Kato N 106-6172 [s23s15]Atlas/kato Ho Scale Undecorated Gp-7 Diesel Locomotive--item #8200Kato Gn Ry Great Northern Railway Emd Sd45 Locomotive No. 415Kato N Scale Train Tsl-002 Ktt Made In JapanN Gauge Train Kato New York Central F3 Engine 176-075Kato Ho Scale Gp35 Locomotive Phase 1a Nyc #6126 Dc Dcc Ready 373024