Kato (Japan) EMD F40PH

Introduced: 2005 (standard version), 2012 (commuter version), 2013 (DCC-Equipped version), 2017 (Kobo Custom versions) and 2019 (DCC-Sound versions)

This was the first Kato diesel model to feature their so-called "shock absorber construction" (although a nascent version of said feature did appear on their revised 2003 F3 models).

Unlike previous models (E8, PA, etc), where the metal contact strips on top of the chassis were free to move up and down, the contact strips on these models are firmly fixed in place (tucked into plastic clips). This new design makes for a much quieter ride

These models employ all of the other time-honored design features one normally associates with "modern" Kato diesels - chassis-mounted couplers, split-frame DCC-Ready metal chassis, dual-flywheels, low-friction drive, plastic truck assemblies, plastic gearing, blackened wheels, lit numberboards, all-wheel drive, and all-wheel pick-up (no traction tires). The motor is an open-sided 5-poler. Directional lighting is provided by an LED-equipped PC board mounted on top of the chassis. The couplers are Kato's proprietary automatic knuckle couplers. Wheels are low-profile and have no problems on Code-55 track.

Performance is perfect in every way - smooth, quiet, flawless pickup and throttle response, exceptional pulling power, etc.

Prototype information -

The EMD F40PH is synonymous with the Amtrak era of American passenger trains. Although it has been retired from Amtrak service, it operated for over 20 years. It continues to be the motive power for commuter railroads all over the United States. Over 400 F40PH locomotives have been manufactured by EMD in various configurations. The F40PH went through some external changes during its production life and each railroad tended to order a custom package of headlights, horns, and other equipment that modelers call "details". Even Amtrak's several orders had multiple detail variations. The version we have selected for this production represents locomotives equipped with radiator "Q-Fans" - a version never before offered.

Addendums -

In 2012, Kato released Amtrak Phase III / Commuter F40PH's. These models have retooled bodies with over-cab A/C units and illuminated ditch lights -

In 2013, Kato released a number of decoder-equipped F40PH's under their Kobo Customs banner (employing TCS K5D7 decoders).

In 2017, Kato released a number of F40PH variants (also part of the Kobo Customs line). These custom runs of F40PH locomotives were repainted and re-detailed from existing VRE units with some minor physical modifications to make them as close as possible to their new road�s equipment. They feature enhanced paint details such as decorated plows (as appropriate), modified horn placement, painted railings, etc -

In 2019, Kato released a number of F40PH's with factory-installed DCC-Sound (ESU LokSound decoders). These were designated as special order items on etailer websites (requiring an extra 2-3 weeks for delivery), so they may have been of the "built to order" ilk (ala Kato's Kobo Custom locos).

To remove the shell, insert some toothpicks between the shell and the chassis to free the shell clips (one around each truck should do it). The shell should lift up and off easily at that point.

Grade: A

Reviewed: 12/05 Model Railroader ("This great-looking model of Amtrak's F40PH comes hot on the heels of the excellent HO model of the same EMD passenger locomotive from Kato. Like its bigger HO brother, this N scale locomotive is also a well-detailed model with a smooth-running chassis that delivers plenty of pulling power. It's designed for easy conversion to DCC... This locomotive from Kato represents a phase 3 Amtrak locomotive fitted with EMD's "Q" fans which are recessed into roof to reduce the locomotive's overall height. The models include a rear platform and railing and two snowplows (the spare is for very tight radius operations). Our sample F40PH came fully assembled except for the installation of the front number boards and the actuating levers on the Kato magnetic couplers. A single instruction sheet explains the installation of these parts. The locomotive has a one-piece body shell with nearly all of the details molded in place. Its detailing is sharp with some of the finest rivet and batten strip detail I've seen in any scale. The cab has clear window glazing. Our sample F40PH was neatly decorated. All of the printed lettering and stripes are clear and opaque except for a couple minor breaks over surface details. Two concealed latches lock the body onto the chassis. They're located under the right rear and left front corners...

"This F40PH has a newly designed mechanism with a one-piecec heavy, zinc-alloy chassis. Recesses in the casting hold a Kato five-pole can motor fitted with turned-brass flywheels and universals that drive both trucks. The scale 40"-diameter nickel-silver drivers have RP-25 contours. All of the split-axle wheelsets match NMRA standards. An ingenious wireless electrical system picks up current from all 8 wheels. Because both trucks are acetal plastic, the drivers are fully insulated from the chassis. An inverted T-shaped copper contact strip runs down each side of the truck gear towers and extends across the backs of the sideframes to pick up current from the axle ends. Two rounded pickup tabs on top of both trucks make positive contact with two phosphor-bronze pickup strips that extend the length of the unit to carry the current to the PC board and motor. The PC board includes the headlight-control circuit. However, the model is designed so the PC board can easily replaced with a decoder. Our sample was quiet, but seemed a little stiff as it started at 6.7 scale mph on 1.8 volts... The model's drawbar pull is equivalent to 23 freight cars... The model's top speed of 194 scale mph is well above the prototype's 103 mph maximum... Kato notes that the locomotive will negotiate a 9.75"-radius curve... It's great to see this smooth-running and well-detailed locomotive. As Amtrak's universal locomotive of the 1970s and 1980s, this model F40PH will be right at home hauling prototype-size trains on any Amtrak-era layout. $95")

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