Kato magnetic couplers
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Recently, Kato introduced thier own magnetic-uncoupling N-scale coupler. Firstly it was used on a few products for the American market like the Budd RDC, the caboose and the Amtrak 'Genesis' diesel locomotive. These American models have the same style of coupler mount as many Japanese-outline models. So it seemed that is was just a matter of time when the magnetic-uncouling coupler became available for Kato's Japanese range. Well, that time is now and the magnetic-uncoupling couplers became available as an aftermarket part. The couplers (ref. 28088) will couple with Kato's semi-automatic (automatic coupling, manual uncoupling) buckeye couplers and with the fully automatic Micro-Trains and Atlas couplers. The Kato couplers can be used together with Micro-Trains and Atlas (Accurail) couplers without restrictions. Greatest advantage of the Kato couplers is that there's a coupler pocket included for use with Kato's 4-wheel freight wagons and that there's an adapter piece included for use in Kato bogie rolling stock (for bogie-mounted couplers). Further, the Kato couplers are a little cheaper than Micro-Trains.
The new Kato magnetic-uncoupling couplers (photo: Kato)
When compared with Micro Trains it is clear that Kato have designed their coupler more or less completely from scratch, the coupler shanks differ a lot from those used by Micro-Trains. Kato's couplers will fit most recent Kato electric and diesel locomotives without any additional parts. The couplers shanks slide over the pin in the snowplough which hold the coupler in place. The leaf spring provides the spring action needed to close and center the coupler. Included with the Kato couplers are adapter pieces for 4-wheel wagons (bottom right) and bogie rolling stock (top right). The adapter piece is also needed when you want to mount these new couplers on Kato or Micro Ace steam locomotives and older Kato electric and diesel locomotives. Kato couplers could also be fitted on Micro Ace bogie wagons and coaches, the coupler mounts are virtually identical to Kato's.
Part that holds coupler on Kato electric locomotives. (photo: Kato)
Some examples of Japanese Kato models fitted with the new couplers. (Scan from Kato news #91)
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