N Kato FEF-3 4-8-4 Northern UP Union Pacific #838 Freight Version
The Union Pacific FEF (Four Eight Four), along with the GS-4 is easily one of the most recognizable US steam prototypes still in operation today. The FEF-3 series of steam locomotives was delivered in 1944 and were the last, and some of the largest, steam locomotives delivered for use by the Union Pacific. Operated solely by the Union Pacific, the FEF's (sometimes referred to as "Northerns", due to the NP's being the first to build steam locomotives with the 4-8-4 wheel arrangement) were intended primarily to be passenger locomotives but the UP's large fleet of available diesels meant that the FEF's were put to work in secondary passenger and fast freight service.
Today, FEF-3 #844 (at some times during history also known as #8444 to avoid numbering conflictions with a diesel loco) survives to pull excursion trains as a publicity locomotive for the Union Pacific, and is one the UP's oldest operating locmotives.
Accompanying the "living legend" FEF-3 is always at least one of a pair of Union Pacific Water Tenders, carrying spare water for the steam engine (Water filling stations being a rarity in the diesel era). These unique re-built cars have seen service as both Steam and Gas Turbine Electric fuel tenders before finally settling into their current forms as part of UP's steam heritage fleet where they operate as separate (but always-present) cars.
The Kato N Scale FEF-3 follows in the footsteps of its Southern Pacific 4-8-4 cousin, refining the basic concept of a high-power, flexible steam locomotive which is easily upgradable to DCC by coupling a special, isolated coreless motor drive system with heavy duty flywheels and a flexible cross-braced suspension system that gives the locomotive a high torque, high traction grip that ensures constant and consistent pressure spread across the primary drivers. Another benefit of the coreless motor system is that the locomotive will have an extremely low starting voltage, giving the locomotive slow creeping speeds that will allow modelers to appreciate the complex arrangement of moving side rods that make steam operation so exciting. Other features, such as the locomotive's unique "Centipede" style tender being fitted with special articulation mechanisms that appear seamless when observed but will bend and flex to allow the locomotive to navigate tighter corners than should otherwise be possible!
The Water Tenders will be an all-new design and will be sold as a two-pack for modelers to supplement their FEF-3 or other UP steam locomotives. Just like the prototype models, the two tenders are not identical, having (in addition to one car having an externally mounted American Flag plate) different weld mark details which will be replicated on the models of the two cars, ensuring that their unique spirit is preserved when translated into model form.
The third component of this Union Pacific release will be a 7-car Excursion train consist featuring two brand new cars - A Power Car (A modified/rebuilt Baggage Dormitory car prototypically used for providing head end power to the trailing cars) and a UP Business car "Kenefick" will form the head and tail of the excursion consist, which will include notable cars like the vibrantly decorated Promontory Museum car, with its full-body American Flag wrap, and a pair of Dome cars.
- FEF-3: Semi-modern appearance is appropriate for modern layouts behind UP Excursion trains as well as historical layouts operating freight and UP passenger services.
- FEF-3: New coreless motor design with dual brass flywheels for silky-smooth performance at all speeds, even slow crawls.
- FEF-3: Special cross-braced shock absorbers equalize the pressure on the locomotive drivers to maximize traction.
- FEF-3: Illuminated headlight and locomotive numberboards. The FEF tender does not have operational lights, but lighting kits are available for the special Water Tender cars (sold separately)
- FEF-3: DCC friendly design, allowing for easy drop-in installation of DCC. This locomotive is also available with DCC pre-installed from Kato USA!
- Water Tenders: Can be upgraded with an optional light board to illuminate marker lights in either direction (sold separately)
- Water Tenders: The separate "Flag" plate will be prototypically applied to the Jim Adams Car.
- 11" (282mm) Minimum turning radius
- All detail parts installed
The headlight and numberboards both illuminate and the base pilot will have a seamless appearance. An optional pilot will allow the mounting of a coupler for double heading.
The FEF-3's distinct Smoke Deflectors wrap around the front of the boiler - behind them the model replicates all of the boiler details present, even those which are not conventionally visible!
The FEF-3's extensive detailing around the drivers and siderods are replicated on the N scale model, with the functional siderods taking full advantage of the smoothness of the coreless motor drive.
The FEF-3 has a distinctve 14-wheeled tender.
Using hidden articulation for the wheels, the model replicates the outward appearance of the unique design without sacrificing turning radius.
The FEF-3 has a fully detailed and visible cab interior, complete with seats and locomotive operational controls (non functional - obviously!).
Kato's N scale model will accurately represent all of the different types of wheels used on the FEF-3:
From the outside bearing wheels on the tender and trailing trucks, to the inside bearing wheels on the pilot truck, to the eight large drivers that will move it across your layout.