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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N Scale Pennsylvania Emd E-8/9 Diesel Locomotive Prr # 5890 - KatoKato 176-8408 N-scale Sd70ace Union Pacific Heritage Missouri Pacific Mp Up 1982Kato Lemke K10601 Bls Ae 8/8 #271 Electric Double LocomotiveKato 106-6162 N-scale Gunderson Maxi-iv Double Stack Car Ttx #732386Kato 176-6302 N-scale Sd70mac Atsf/bnsf Executive Merger #9647 W/dccKato 176-7002 N-scale Ac4400cw Cefx #1021 N Scale - Erie Railroad Usra 2-8-2 Heavy Mikado Steam Locomotive - KatoKato N 106-6114a Gunderson Maxi-iv Double Stack 3-car Set Ttx #732170 Em E6 Kato 176-3602 N-scale C44-9w Dash-9 Southern Pacific Sp #8105Kato Ho Sd40 Fantasy Iowa Northern With Digitrax Dcc Dh165ip DecoderKato 106-4605 N-scale Bethgon Coalporter 8-car Hopper Set BnsfKato 176-3601 N-scale C44-9w Dash-9 Southern Pacific Sp #8100Athearn Ho F59phi Fantasy Nebraska Soundtraxx Tsunami Sound/dcc Kato DriveN-gauge Kato Alco Rs-2 Diesel #176-4604 Great Northern #217 *mint*Kato 106-6114a N-scale Gunderson Maxi-iv Double Stack Car Ttx #732170Kato 176-8911 N-scale Es44ac Gevo Ge Demonstrator Demo #2005Kato 176-8908 N-scale Es44ac Gevo Csx #819Kato 176-7001 N-scale Ac4400cw Cefx #1006 W/dccKato 106-4604 N-scale Bethgon Coalporter 8-car Hopper Set Union Pacific UpKato 176-8506 N-scale Sd70ace Norfolk Southern Ns #1007Kato 106-4607 N-scale Bethgon Coalporter 8-car Hopper Set Up/chttN Scale Kato Lot Of (450+) Pieces Of Unitrack Including 25 Switches.Kato 126-0110 - N Gauge New York Central 2-8-2 Mikado Steam LocomotiveKato 106-4603 N-scale Bethgon Coalporter 8-car Hopper Set Norfolk Southern NsKato 106-4609 N-scale Bethgon Coalporter 8-car Hopper Set Union Pacific Up/cmoN-gauge Kato Emd E8/9 Diesel #176-256 Pennsylvania Railroad #5802Kato 176-5505 N-scale Sd80mac Norfolk Southern Ns #7202 W/dccKato 176-8915 N-scale Es44ac Gevo Csx #800Kato N Scale Sd70ace Kansas City Southern 4129Kato 176-8409 N-scale Sd70ace Union Pacific Heritage Mkt Katy Up #1988Stewart /kato Ho Western Pacific F7a/ F7b Passenger Loco SetKato N Scale 6 Amtrak Train CarsKato Sd40-2 Soo Line Ho Scale Unfinished ProjectKato 176-8902 N-scale Es44ac Gevo Union Pacific Building America Flag Up #5542Kato 106-6119 N-scale Gunderson Maxi-iv Double Stack Car Pacer Stack-trainKato 176-3401 N-scale C44-9w Dash-9 Csx #9009Kato 176-6311 N-scale Sd70mac Bnsf Heritage Ii #9863Kato N #106-055 California Zephyr 11 Car Set Cheapest On Ebay!! & Brand New!Kato 176-5511 N-scale Sd80mac Csx "dark Future" #4594 W/dccKato 176-5611 N-scale Sd90/43mac Cit Cefx #118Kato 106-4602 N-scale Bethgon Coalporter 8-car Hopper Set Csx/csxtKato 176-5506 N-scale Sd80mac Norfolk Southern Ns #7213 W/dccKato 203 M - N Gauge Japanese Railways 4-6-4 C62 Steam Locomotive - Lot 11dN Kato 176-8913  ge Es44ac "gevo" Union Pacific #5491 Dcc Ready Kato 176-8501 N-scale Sd70ace Norfolk Southern Heritage Erie Ns #1068Kato 176-8410 N-scale Sd70ace Union Pacific Heritage Western Pacific Wp Up #1983Kato 176-8907 N-scale Es44ac Gevo Csx #754Kato 176-7042 N-scale Ac4400cw Csx #37Kato 176-5612 N-scale Sd90/43mac Cit Cefx #123N Scale Kato Dcc Installed Union Pacific Sd40-2 Tested New(see Details)Kato 176-3512 N-scale C44-9w Dash-9 Bnsf Warbonnet #741Kato Nyc F3a Kato 176-6307a N-scale Sd70mac Csx #727Kato 201 M - N Gauge Japanese Railways 2-6-0 C50 Steam LocomotiveN Kato 176-1116 Emd F3a Southern Pacific #6104 Dcc Ready Kato 106-6168 N-scale Gunderson Maxi-iv Double Stack Car Bnsf Swoosh/swiftKato 176-7214 N-scale Ac4400cw Canadian Pacific Golden Beaver Cp #9532 N Scale - Pennsylvania Emd Gp-7 Diesel Locomotive # 8501 - Atlas / Kato # 4306Kato N Scale 126-0202 Heavy Mikado Erie #3204Kato N Scale Unitrack Mixed Lot - Lightly Used