Amtrak`s 40th Anniversary



Amtrak`s 40th Anniversary
Street Car Extravaganza Inside!
Amtrak’s 40th Anniversary
Kato celebrates milestone with expanded
line of passenger consists and motive power
Aux-Box? An entirely new approach to
switching issues around the layout
Irish Tracklayer’s electro-pneumatic switch
motors bring realism to trackside detailing
New Industrial Archeology
series equips modelers to
re-create real-world places
Volume 17, Issue 5 • May 2011
05 >
74470 24091
Cover Story
All aboard
America, all
aboard Amtrak
Kato Celebrates Amtrak’s 40th
Review and Photos by David Otte
GG1 Amtrak Black No. 913 (#137-2021),
MSRP: $145.00
E8A Amtrak Phase I No. 310 (#1765343), MSRP: $95.00
“The Congress finds that modern, efficient, intercity railroad passenger
service is a necessary part of a balanced transportation system; that the
public convenience and necessity require the continuance and improvement
of such service to provide fast and comfortable transportation between
crowded u rba n a rea s a nd i n other a rea s of the cou ntr y; that ra i l
passenger service can help to end the congestion on our highways and the
overcrowding of airways and airports; that the traveler in America should
to the maximum extent feasible have freedom to choose the mode of travel
most convenient to his needs; that to achieve these goals requires the
designation of a basic national rail passenger system and the establishment
of a rail passenger corporation for the purpose of providing modern,
efficient, intercity rail passenger service; that Federal financial assistance
as well as investment capital from the private sector of the economy is
needed for this purpose; and that interim emergency Federal assistance
to certain railroads may be necessary to permit the orderly transfer of
railroad passenger service to a railroad passenger corporation.”
E8A Penn Central No. 4285(#176-5343),
MSRP: $95.00
Amtrak Phase I 4-Car Passenger Set
(#106-3522), MSRP: $100.00
Penn Central 4-Car Passenger Set
(#106-3521), MSRP: $100.00
EMD F40PH Amtrak Phase III No. 376
(#176-6102), MSRP: $100.00
Step Down Coach and Baggage Car
Amtrak Phase III 2-Car Set (#106-7121),
MSRP: $50.00
Superliner Amtrak Phase III Set A
(#106-3501A), MSRP: $100.00
GE P42 Amfleet & Viewliner Phase IV
Locomotive and 5-Car Set (#106-0101),
MSRP: $250.00
GE P42 “Genesis” Amtrak Phase V No.
127 (#176-6009), MSRP: $105.00
Superliner Amtrak Phase IVb Set B
(#106-3514), MSRP: $105.00
Kato USA, Inc.
100 Remington Road
Schaumburg, IL 60173
847-781-9500 • Fax: 847-781-9570
w w
- Public Law 91-518 (Rail Passenger Service Act),
91st Congress, H. R. 17849,
October 30, 1970
his month marks the 40th
Anniversary of the National
Railroad Passenger Corporation
formed by Congress through the 1970
Rail Passenger Service Act (RPSA) in order to save the nation’s fledgling intercity
rail passenger service.
Since the end of World War II, competition from automobiles, buses, and
airplanes had reduced passenger rail travel
to a shadow of its former self and rendered the passenger rail business unprofitable. Through the formation of what later
would be known simply as Amtrak, the
government owned, for-profit entity was
to take over responsibility for operating
intercity service from any railroad that desired to get out of the passenger business.
Although a few railroads held out until
the 1980s, the majority of the nation’s rail
Probably the oldest pieces of equipment on the Amtrak roster were 30 GG-1 electrics built by GE for
the Pennsylvania Railroad between 1934 and 1943. Numbered 900 – 929 by Amtrak, the GG-1 fleet
soldiered on through the late 1970s with the last example making its final journey in 1983. For their
anniversary celebration, Kato is offering their well-executed N-scale GG-1 lettered for number 913,
pictured here, as well as number 918. Built in January of 1942 as PRR 4913, our sample transferred
to Penn Central in 1968 before joining Amtrak in 1971. She would be renumbered back to 4913 in
June of 1979. She was one of six GG-1s to be painted in Tuscan Red in 1952 for use on the Pennsy’s
Congressional Limited and the Senator. She now resides at the Railroaders Memorial Museum in
Altoona, PA — one of only 15 GG-1 survivors. As a DCC-ready model, consider adding a Train Control
Systems’ K1D4NC decoder or, for even more realism, a MRC 1952 16-bit sound decoder.
May 2011 — Model Railroad News —
carriers surrendered service immediately.
While it has come to light that many
in the government back then never
thought Amtrak would survive more than
a couple of years past its commencement
date, four decades later our passenger
train corporation is still chugging along.
Sure, she’s had her ups and downs, but
for railfans starting with my generation,
Amtrak has been the only true national
intercity passenger train service we have
ever known. With that fact alone, I think
Amtrak’s 40 years of conveying travelers all across the US is definitely worth
celebrating — and at least one model
railroad manufacturer concurs. Kato,
which has been providing N scalers an opportunity to recreate Amtrak operations
with a variety of products, has joined in
the festivities with their multi-decade
salute to Amtrak. There are some familiar
passenger locomotives and rolling stock
favorites as well as some new surprises, so
sit back and relax as we take you through
In Amtrak’s early days, the most numerous diesels were secondhand
EMD E8/9s. Recognizing this fact, Kato has incorporated their
venerable E8 into their anniversary line up. The single roadnumber
being offered, 310, features an accurate example of Amtrak’s Phase
I paint scheme. Originally PRR 5903 and later PC 4303, number 310
was constructed in March of 1951. She would remain on the property
until the late 1970s when the whole E-unit fleet would be replaced
with the SDP40Fs beginning in 1973, and then by the F40PHs by
the turn of the decade. This DCC-ready model will accept a Digitrax
DN163K0A drop-in decoder or a MRC 1645 sound decoder.
40 years of colorful Amtrak history in
1/160 scale. And just as the words sung at
the end of their old 1980s-era TV commercials once proclaimed, “All aboard
America, All aboard Amtrak!”
I and former Penn Central schemes, and
senger rail travel more inviting to the
two four-car passenger sets — the first
public. Orders included some 150 EMD
utilizing former Santa Fe and California
SDP40Fs, 492 Amfleet passenger cars
Zephyr equipment also in Phase I and the
with their distinctive tubular shape, and
second, for the “rainbow effect” consist,
26 GE E60 electric locomotives. The
Penn Central cars of Broadway Limited
second phase paint scheme also made its
We’ve Been Working on the
and Union Pacific heritage in various PC
appearance keeping the wide blue and red
stripes outlined in white as in the initial
When Amtrak took over the nation’s
scheme, but without the “pointless” arrow.
passenger rail operations on May 1, 1971,
America’s Getting Into
As Amtrak approached its tenth anniverit could hardly be considered a cohesive
sary, the company could proudly state in
network of operations. It had at its dispos- its ads and brochures, “We’ve been workBy the early 1980s, Amtrak had the
al a hodgepodge of over 1,000 passenger
appearance of a real railroad company
ing on the railroad.”
cars donated by the railroads and trackage
and was touting “America’s getting into
Kato’s contribution for modeling
rights nationwide over the freight carriers’ the years following the birth of Amtrak
training” in its timetables. Despite the
rails mandated by the RPSA, but little
temporary setbacks caused by derailment
include their recently released GG-1 in
else. Locomotives, stations, maintenance
issues with its SDP40Fs, the six-axle
the Midnight scheme of overall black
facilities, and personnel, were all owned
diesel-electric’s replacement, the fourwith simple white lettering spelling out
by the railroads, which Amtrak had to
“Amtrak,” E8as in both the Amtrak Phase axle EMD F40PH, turned out to be the
lease in its first year of operation. During
its second year of operation, Amtrak began purchasing the locomotives from the
railroads, rebuilt equipment for improved
performance, hired some 1,500 employees
and began the long process of carving out
an identity for itself.
Railfans sometimes refer to the first
decade of Amtrak as the Rainbow Era due
to the mix of passenger cars and locomotives still wearing their previous owners’ paint schemes. One by one, Amtrak
would apply its own distinctive colors to
the secondhand equipment: overall silver
carbodies with red, white, and blue stripes,
reflecting national ownership, and a stylish, flatnosed arrow symbol. An Amtrak
locomotive roster effective February 1974
lists a plethora of used EMD E8/9s along
with a handful of EMD F3/7s and FP7s
totaling 249 units in all, plus some 30 ancient GE built GG-1 electric locomotives
Kato’s Phase I passenger car set includes ex-Santa Fe El Capitan baggage car number
for operation in the Northeast.
1057, ex-CB&Q California Zephyr 10 roomette 6 double bedroom sleeper Silver Crag,
ex-CB&Q California Zephyr dining car Silver Restaurant, and ex-Santa Fe Super Chief
However, in the mid-to-late 1970s,
10 roomette 6 double bedroom sleeper Palm Arch. These ready-to-run Heritage fleet
Amtrak sought to add new passenger
cars are pre-wired at the factory for Kato’s consumer-installed interior LED lighting
equipment, too, in effort to make paskits either number 11-209 for a single car or number 11-210 for a six car kit.
The All-Scale News Monthly — Model Railroad News — May 2011
Kato’s other E8a for Amtrak’s Rainbow Era is Penn Central number 4285. She was built in March 1950 as PRR
5885 and, after her stint with Amtrak ended, became New Jersey Department of Transportation’s 4285. She
would later be traded to the Illinois Central Gulf in September of 1978 for what was to be an E-unit rebuild program
at the Paducah Shops, but this plan failed to come to fruition. Consequently, 4285 was scrapped in 1981.
new F-unit of the decade and, to this
day: when I think of Amtrak, I picture a
train being led by this venerable engine.
Also, joining the F40PH at the end of the
previous decade was the first of the EMD
AEM-7 electrics, allowing a well-deserved
retirement of the remaining GG-1s, and
the new hi-level Superliner series of long
distance cars.
Built by Pullman Car Company
and based on the famed El Capitan cars
Amtrak inherited from the Santa Fe. A
total of 284 cars were constructed in five
different types: coach/baggage, sleeper,
lounge/cafe, coach, and diner. While
height restrictions kept them off most
trains east of the Mississippi, the new
Superliners populated the consists of the
Auto Train, California Zephyr, Capital
Limited, City of New Orleans, Coast
Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest
Chief, Sunset Limited, and Texas Eagle.
Meanwhile, intercity travelers bound
for eastern destinations were introduced
to Amfleet II equipment erected by the
Budd Company between 1981 and 1983,
which provided 125 additional coaches
and 25 lounge cars with increased comfort and viewing levels over their older
Amfleet I cousins.
This era also saw a new paint scheme.
Known as Phase III, the red, white, and
blue stripes now became equal in width
as they stretched down the sides of both
locomotive and passenger equipment
For this era of passenger revolution,
Kato presents a complete Superlinerequipped consist in Phase III paint.
Powered by up to three of Kato’s highly
Giving Amtrak’s Rainbow era some real color, Kato is also offering a former Penn Central
passenger consist that includes: ex-Union Pacific 44-seat chair car 5426 — now PC number
3001, ex-PRR Broadway Limited 12 duplex 4 double bedroom sleeper “Connoquenessing
Creek,” ex-PRR 21 roomette sleeper “Sharon Inn” converted to coach number 1521, and
ex-PRR 4 double bedrooms 4 compartments 2 drawing rooms sleeper “Imperial Trees.”
As with the Phase I set, these cars come ready for installation of Kato’s LED lighting kit.
May 2011 — Model Railroad News —
regarded F40PHs with new roadnumbers,
the Superliner cars come in two separately
sold sets. Set A features a coach-baggage,
a straight coach, diner, and sleeper, while
Set B provides two additional coaches
and a sleeper, plus a lounge car. The big
news for this period’s release though, is
the 2-car add-on set consisting of a stepdown coach and baggage car. Never before
offered in Amtrak markings, the former
Santa Fe El Capitan step-down coach,
with its high end door on one end and
low end door on the other, was a common
sight on all Superliner trains providing train crews the ability to access the
regular height baggage cars, represented
in the Kato set by a former Santa Fe
3500-series car, in the consist. Superliner
fans modeling Amtrak before the arrival
of the Superliner II transition sleeper cars,
which replaced these step down coaches
in the mid-1990s, finally have complete
There’s Something About a
Train That’s Magic
The 1990s saw more important
developments in passenger equipment
for Amtrak that allowed them to boast
“There’s something about a train that’s
magic.” Following 20 interim GE Dash
8-32BWH diesels delivered in 1991 that
were based on the popular 4-axle Dash
8 freight locomotives series, General
Electric answered Amtrak’s request for
a totally new passenger engine from the
rails up. Known as Genesis, the unique
monocoque body design debuted in 1990
as Amtrak’s new 4,000 horsepower P40
with an up-rated P42 entering service
in 1997. Genesis completely changed the
face of Amtrak, as did its new Viewliner
sleeping cars that entered service in the
mid 1990s.
Described to a tee by Passenger Train
Journal, the Viewliner was “a little bit
of Amfleet, a dose of Superliner, a dash
of Heritage Fleet and a wealth of new
technology making for a new generation of single-level passenger cars.” The
50 new sleeping cars provided patrons
traveling east a replacement for the aging
heritage sleepers in use since 1971. The
cars resembled the hi-level styling of the
Superliners, but maintained the height
of the heritage cars and thus the clearance restrictions of Amtrak’s lines east.
Accommodations include 12 roomettes,
two deluxe bedrooms, and a handicap
accessible bedroom. Additional car types
were planned but, unfortunately, Amtrak
ran out of funding before they could be
implemented — more on that later.
Finally, the mid-1990s saw the Phase
IV or Northeast Direct paint scheme featuring two narrow red and white stripes
over a wide navy blue stripe.
Kato takes us into this modern era
with a special intercity service train set
powered by their fabulous P42 and featuring . . . Ta Da! Newly tooled Amfleet II
and Viewliner cars! Also included is a
ex-Santa Fe baggage car with the whole set
decorated in Phase IV paint and packaged in a sturdy bookcase-style collectors
box. While I’ll provide further analysis
for these new models later in the article, I
will say that the addition of the Amfleet
II and Viewliner equipment is especially
welcome news for our N-scale brothers
and sisters modeling east coast trains and
proves once again that Kato is definitely
listening to their 1/160 constituents.
Enjoy the Journey
As we wish Amtrak a happy 40th,
she’s certainly not over the hill yet; the
passenger rail corporation appears to be
in better shape now than ever before. In a
press release on the state of the company,
an Amtrak spokesperson proclaimed:
“As the nation’s intercity passenger rail
operator, Amtrak connects America in
safer, greener and healthier ways. Last
fiscal year (FY 2010), the railroad carried
over 28.7 million passengers, making it
the best year in the company’s history.
With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the
District of Columbia and three Canadian
provinces, Amtrak operates more than
300 trains each day — at speeds up to
150 mph (241 kph) — to more than 500
destinations. Amtrak also is the partner
of choice for state-supported corridor services in 15 states and for several commuter
rail agencies.”
The first F40PH was delivered to Amtrak in 1976 and its success set the standard for passenger
locomotives ever since. Amtrak would amass 216 F40s by 1990. The Kato F40PH is an accurate
rendition of a Phase III production variant in the Amtrak Phase III paint scheme. This can be
determined by the newer, countersunk radiator cooling fans, called Q-fans, mandated by the EPA
in 1980, as well as the double set of louvers on the access panel forward the dynamic brake air
vents and inclined bolster springs on its Blomberg Type M trucks. F40PH numbers 376, 379, and
346 are being offered with our sample representing a unit built in June of 1981 and ultimately
acquired by Rail World Locomotive Leasing in 2002. Today she is known as Titan Rail TANX376
having been rebuilt as an F40M-2F in March 2006. Trick out this DCC-ready model with a Digitrax
DN163K0D drop in decoder or a MRC 1810 sound decoder for enhanced performance.
N 1:160 • Type: Electric
Traction Tires? Yes
N 1:160 • Type: Diesel
Traction Tires? No
Pull Power (Ozs @ Full Slip)
Pull ÷ Loco Wt = Efficiency
Analog DC
Start Volts = 1.6
Amps Scale MPH
Pull Power (Ozs @ Full Slip)
Pull ÷ Loco Wt = Efficiency
Analog DC
Start Volts = 2.0
Amps Scale MPH
N 1:160 • Type: Diesel
Traction Tires? No
Pull Power (Ozs @ Full Slip)
Pull ÷ Loco Wt = Efficiency
Analog DC
GE P42
N 1:160 • Type: Diesel
Traction Tires? No
Pull Power (Ozs @ Full Slip)
Pull ÷ Loco Wt = Efficiency
Analog DC
Start Volts = 2.1
Amps Scale MPH
Start Volts = 2.1
Amps Scale MPH
The All-Scale News Monthly — Model Railroad News — May 2011
This special two-car set utilizes the de-skirted baggage car and step-down coach from Kato’s El Capitan
consist just as Amtrak made use of them from the real El Capitan for operation on its Superliner trains.
Amtrak’s 73 foot 10 inch long baggage car number 1206 is ex-Santa Fe 3504 from the 3500 – 3554 series
built by Budd between 1953 and 1957. It could still be seen in this Phase III paint scheme in 2006. Amtrak
39901 was originally constructed as hi-level coach number 703 for the El Capitan in 1956. Later it was
rebuilt into a coach dorm transition car. By the time Amtrak inherited the El Capitan cars, this step-down
car became number 9943 and, after being equipped with HEP, it was renumbered 39901. The transition
car now spends its days on display at the Museum of the American Railroads in Dallas, Texas.
the purchase of 130 new single-level rail
cars to be delivered starting in October
2012. As current Amtrak President and
CEO Joseph Boardman put it, “This
major equipment purchase demonstrates
our strong belief in the future of intercity
passenger rail in America and Amtrak’s
leading role in meeting critical national
transportation needs.” The order includes
25 sleeping cars, 25 diners, 55 baggage
cars, and 25 baggage/dormitory cars for
use primarily on long distance trains and,
according to Boardman, will be similar to
the popular Viewliner cars. An additional contract has been given to Siemens
Mobility for 70 ACS-64 Cities Sprinters
to replace the AEM-7 electrics and the
high-speed Acela locomotives, first introduced in 2000. The ACS-64s are scheduled to be delivered starting in 2013.
Kato’s Modern Amtrak Fleet
To commemorate today’s Amtrak,
Kato offers a pair of P42s in the current
Phase V locomotive scheme displaying a
blue wave that sweeps up over the nose
and along the top of the carbody, a red
stripe runs along the base, and Amtrak’s
new logo on the sides. Behind the Genesis
engines run two sets of Superliners in the
current Phase IVb car scheme, which is
basically the Phase IV striping with a new
logo. Car selection in each set is the same
as in the Phase III sets.
The above coach, coach-baggage, sleeper, and diner are included in Set A of Kato’s two available
Superliner consists (see Set B cars in the current Phase IVb scheme). They wear the popular Phase
III paint scheme first introduced on these cars when delivered by builder Pullman Standard in 1979.
The sleeping car features five bedrooms and ten roomettes on the upper level and one family and
one handicap-accessible bedroom and another four roomettes on the lower level. The coach and
coach-baggage provided seating for 62 passengers above with the straight coach including 12
seats below as well. The dining car provides tabled seating on the upper level while the food is
prepared below in the kitchen and transported to the serving area above by a dumbwaiter.
In fact, the press release goes on to
state that since 2000, Amtrak ridership
has shown a whopping 37 percent increase
nationwide. This can be attributed to
Amtrak’s efforts at making their trains
run on time, with statistics showing an
overall improvement, better customer service, and, of course, rising oil prices that
are giving us all reasons to rethink our
transportation arrangements. Hey, why
not take the train? These positive changes
make their current motto, “Enjoy the
Journey,” that much more believable.
Thanks to the stimulus money com48
ing from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act, Amtrak is also able to
overhaul and return to sevice 15 P40s, 60
Amfleet cars, and 21 long distance cars.
Furthermore, those canceled Viewliner
cars I spoke of earlier are now coming
to fruition in a sense as well. Amtrak
has implemented a Fleet Strategy Plan
that provides the company with a broad
outline of goals and expectations for the
next 10 to 20 years. Anticipating more
ridership as the country continues to
see oil prices rise, Amtrak has awarded
CAF USA a $289.1 million contract for
May 2011 — Model Railroad News —
Notes on the Kato Models
To start with, as all of the components
in the first, second, and fourth groups of
models came from existing Kato tooling
and have been reviewed in past issues of
Model Railroad News, please refer to
their photo captions for additional prototype information. With that being said,
I was very pleased with the accuracy and
quality of decoration encountered with all
of our new review samples.
Operational characteristics of each
model, whether rolling stock or motive
power, was completely in line with the
same positive results achieved in past
analysis of these products — a consistency
that I have come to expect and rely on
from Kato. Successful test runs of all
the samples were carried out on both a
layout equipped with code 80 rail with
minimum 12.375 inch radius curves and
number 6 turnouts, as well as on code 55
rail track with number 5 turnouts, and
radius curves as tight as 9.75 inches, all
without experiencing any anomalies —
First introduced in May of 1993, the GE Genesis locomotive answered
Amtrak’s call for a totally new passenger locomotive to replace the
aging F40PHs. The new locomotive’s sleek appearance is based on
its monocoque body that also gives it the ability to perform to Amtrak
specifications. This is a design whereby the entire structure supports
the vehicle weight as opposed to past designs of a large platform on
which the diesel engine rests. This method was necessary to support
the weight of the 4,000 hp (later 4,200 horsepower) GE four-cycle
turbocharged 16-cylinder prime mover being used as specified on
thanks to Kato’s use of truck-mounted
couplers on the E8s, GG-1, and rolling
stock. Of course, you will find that these
full-scale-length passenger cars look much
more prototypical on radius curves larger
than 12.375 inches, but folks with smaller
layouts can still enjoy modeling Amtrak
too, just be mindful of trackside details
that may interfere with car overhang.
Finally, like our previous P42, F40PH,
GG-1, and E8 samples, the top end speed
of the Amtrak motive power at 10 volts
continues to run a little too high and
beyond that of their respective prototypes,
but that’s nothing a DCC decoder and
some programming adjustments couldn’t
fix (see photo captions for decoder recommendations). However, low-speed analog
performance is still outstanding.
As this is our first look at Kato’s new
Amfleet II and Viewliner cars though, I
did want to make special mention of a
number of their attributes. Checking the
models against published drawings and
photographs, both of these 6.375-inch
long cars have the correct dimensions
and include the appropriate details of
their prototypes. The intricacies of these
cars for the most part are molded-in the
one-piece carbodies, but are well executed,
being crisp and scale-like in appearance
right down to the stainless steel fluting
found on both releases’ sides and roofs.
Flush-fitting window glazing complete
with simulated framing, add-on end of
car diaphragms, and a separately cast floor
that also displays the various electrical
and mechanical appliance housings apparent on the full-size cars further enhance
these models.
Like the other passenger cars found
in Kato’s N-scale line up, the Viewliner
Sleeper and Amfleet II coach and lounge
only four axles. Furthermore, Amtrak designers stressed simplicity
and economy in their locomotive requirements and wanted a car body
with no complex curves. Ultimately, 44 P40s would be built followed
by 207 up-rated P42DCs all erected by GE between 1993 and 2001.
Kato’s number 16 that’s heading up their special Intercity Express
set is a P42DC constructed in 1996. It displays the short-lived Phase
IV paint scheme as applied in 2001. Number 16 would receive Phase
V colors in the spring of 2003, and as of late has been seen assigned
to passenger service in Amtrak’s eastern region.
Kato’s new Intercity Express set includes an exSanta Fe baggage car plus their new Amfleet II
c o a c h a n d l o u n g e a n d t wo n ew V i ew l i n e r
sleepers. Delivered in 1981 and 1982 by Budd,
the Amfleet II order included 125 coaches
num b ere d 25 0 0 0 – 25124 an d 25 l oung es
numbered 28000 – 28024. Used on long distance
trains, the Kato models display the prototypes’
tubular design with curved sides and welded
stainless steel construction, which made these
cars exceptionally strong and safe if involved in
a crash. These cars feature 59 coach seats or 17
cars include interiors that accurately
reflect the accommodations of the prototype equipment. Similarly, these models
also come ready for consumer installation
of separately sold LED interior lighting
kits, as their trucks and car floors have
built-in electrical contacts.
Finally, I thought Kato did an especially fine job of replicating the Amfleet
l o u n g e s eat s p lu s 8 t a b l e s for ser v i n g 3 2
passengers from the onboard snack bar. The 50
Viewliner sleepers currently rostered were built
by Amerail in 1995 and 1996. They’re numbered
62000 – 62049. While appearing similar in height
to the hi-level Superliner cars, they’re actually no
taller then the old Heritage fleet sleeping cars in
order to meet the tunnel and catenary clearance
restrictions found on some of the eastern routes.
As such, Viewliners can be seen most often on
Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited, Cardinal, Silver Star,
and Silver Meteor passenger trains.
II’s Budd Pioneer-style inside-bearing
trucks. While this design in model form
does cause some noticeable additional
frictional forces over the more common
outside-bearing frames with their needle
point axles, the rolling properties of our
samples were better then I had expected;
the Intercity Set’s single P42 had no difficulty handling its consist.
The All-Scale News Monthly — Model Railroad News — May 2011
Built in 2000, Kato’s number 127 (roadnumber 28 is also available)
represents today’s Amtrak and the current Phase V paint scheme. The
P42DC is equipped with GE’s 7FDL16 four-cycle prime mover with
electronic fuel injection producing 4,200 horsepower and 800 kilowatt
hours of head end power via its model GTA33 alternator, and is designed
to maintain speeds of 110 miles per hour. The N-scale model is a
surefooted, all-wheel drive, aerodynamic beast easily capable of hauling
single-handedly two sets of Superliners plus a couple of baggage cars.
Enhance operation of this DCC-ready model with either a Digitrax
DN163K0A decoder or MRC 1645 sound decoder.
The newest passenger cars to join the Kato N-scale roster, the Amfleet II and Viewliner
cars, are well appointed with full interiors, window glazing, add-on diaphragms, and full
underbody details. I found the Amfleet II’s Pioneer style inboard bearing trucks particularly
exceptional. Add a Kato interior LED lighting kit to further enhance these great models.
Shown here in Amtrak’s most current paint scheme, the components of Kato’s Superliner Set B (see
Set A cars in Phase III scheme) include two additional coaches, a lounge, and a sleeper. These are
considered Superliner I series cars erected by Pullman Standard between 1978 and 1981 (an additional
140 Superliner II cars were built by Bombardier between 1993 and 1994 utilizing the original Pullman
Standard designs). The lounge cars, in particular, were the last of this series to be delivered and stand
out from the rest of the Superliner I fleet by their large windows that wrap up and around the roof providing
riders with fantastic views of the scenery through which they are traveling. As with the rest of the Kato
passenger car fleet, add one of the aforementioned LED lighting kits to show off the car’s interiors.
May 2011 — Model Railroad News —
America’s Railroad
While Kato’s efforts in offering
both these two new passenger car prototypes as well as the whole collection
of Amtrak equipment for this special
occasion are commendable, I found the
series of releases to be quite inspiring
personally. They have reminded me of
the role that Amtrak has played over
the past 40 years while also rekindling
both my interest in modeling the prototype as well as N scale in general.
Likewise, Amtrak is not letting
their accomplishments over the past
four decades go unnoticed. Four
heritage P42 locomotives are currently
traveling the national network with
each unit decorated in one of the first
four phase paint schemes and, over the
next year, a special anniversary exhibit
train will tour the country headed by
restored P40 and F40PH locomotives
in Phase III paint. The consist will be
made up of converted heritage f leet
baggage cars, which are housing walkthrough educational displays and a variety of memorabilia from each decade
of the railroad’s existence. (Hint: Both
locos and cars will be a great modeling
opportunity for Kato as well!) A book
entitled Amtrak: An American
Story and a documentary DVD specially produced for the anniversary are
also being offered.
Just as their press releases are quick
to point out, “Amtrak is America’s
Railroad,” so why not get better
acquainted with your passenger rail
service by checking out ;
for more information on traveling by
train. And why you’re on the web, head
over to to download
a free full-color poster that displays
Kato’s entire collection of Amtrak
40th Anniversary models.
The All-Scale News Monthly — Model Railroad News — May 2011