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at less than three scale miles per hour. The top end, as is the case of most models, exceeds the prototype’s 50 m.p.h. top speed, however, a turn of the throttle will dampen any excess speed. All of the wheels pick up current from the rail head and this is distrib- uted to the motor and LED lighting ar- ray through a circuit board mounted under the roof and just out of sight of the windows. White LED’s illuminate the various forward lights with red LED’s bringing up the rear. The board also features an eight pin DCC plug for plug-and-play installation of a DCC decoder in addi- tion to having contact points for oper- ating trolley poles should one wish to replace the acetal resin, non-operating poles provided on the model with live poles. This latest PCC model is a solid ex-


ample of the new generation of street- car and transit models that have re- cently been released to the model railroad market. Two exceptional fea- tures of the model that need to be high- lighted are the 30 degree windshield, which has never been done on a mass produced PCC model before and the cor- rect floor height. The car nestles down over the track in the same manner as does its prototype. With thirteen paint schemes which include San Francisco (cream and green); Brooklyn, Philadel- phia (silver); Kansas City, Newark, Louisville, Pacific Electric, Baltimore (yellow and gray), Philadelphia (cream and green), Boston Elevated, Cincin- nati, Chicago Transit Authority, Los Angeles Railway, San Francisco (wing style) as well as undecorated available, traction enthusiasts should be able to find a PCC car that is right for their system. These PCC models retail for $124.95.—GEORGE RILEY


GE U30C diesel locomotive: N scale Mfd. by Kato U.S.A., 100 Remington


Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173 or www.katousa.com. The General Electric U30C was al-


ways one of those locomotives that I found myself drawn to during my early days in N scale. I discovered the origi- nal batch of Kato models well after they were initially produced and was rarely afforded the opportunity to pur- chase one. They were hard to find and nobody was letting theirs go. At the time they were introduced, they really were the best of what N scale locomo- tives could be. Kato has always led the way in performance and shell detail and the initial run of the U30C proved that. As good as that locomotive was,


there were a few problems, though. The original batch of U30C’s had open pilots and couplers mounted directly to the trucks. This looked pretty bad. The


92


frames were also extremely DCC un- friendly. It took machinist skills to be able to convert these engines to DCC. There is also the fact that the original run of locomotives were limited in numbers and were increasingly hard to find. The day I heard that Kato was re- running them, I became a happy mod- eler once again. This run of U30C locomotives is of-


fered in several western road paint schemes which are Santa Fe, Union Pacific, Burlington Northern and the Department of Transportation. The ATSF and UP engines are offered in two different road numbers. Kato also offer these locomotives with DCC fac- tory installed. Probably, the first thing I noticed


about these new locomotives is that the pilot is a full (closed) pilot. The truck mounted couplers are replaced in favor body mounted couplers making a pro- totypically correct closed pilot possible. Chalk one up in the win column for Kato on that one. The days of buying a coupler conversion kit are over. The front pilot has a plow mounted to it with m.u. hoses molded into it. The rear pilot is similar to the front except for the lack of a plow. The m.u. hoses on the rear pilot are separate plastic pieces that slip into little mounting holes. This is how the pilots should look. Kato really got it right here. The coupler cut lever is finely molded and is well replicated. I don’t think I would bother with shaving it off and replac- ing it with etched brass or wire cut levers.


Another improvement over the old


model is the addition of lighted num- berboards with numbers printed on them. Blank numberboards were al- ways a big gripe of mine. Putting those tiny little numbers on the number- boards is tedious especially if you have to do it four times per engine. Kato numbers are all very sharp and they do light up nicely. Speaking of lighting, I think the lighting on these engines is superb. The lights are lit by a tiny LED on the electrical board. These LED’s are white in color, but have a slightly yel- low colored light tube or rod that changes white light into very incandes- cent looking headlights and number- board lights. Now, if I were to add a de- coder from another manufacturer I would have to check to see if the LED was white or a different color. The look of the headlight could be changed. In the past, Kato has offered clear head- light rods so I would expect the same for these locomotives. In d.c. mode, these headlights lit up well before the engine started moving, a much wel- comed feature by non-DCC guys. These locomotives come with Kato’s operating knuckle couplers installed. For me, they look like they stick out


DECEMBER 2011


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