Kato UP 4-8-4 844

rrunty Jun 12, 2014

  1. EspeeGoldenState

    EspeeGoldenState TrainBoard Member

    Um unless they went and changed the drivers, then possibly, but I don't think so.
  2. kmcsjr

    kmcsjr TrainBoard Member

    First cool video on the disassembly!
    Second. Were the water tenders ever done in black? If so, will Kato do one?
  3. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    The auxiliary water tenders were never done in black, except when they were actual tenders behind U.P. TTT 2-10-2 steam engines. The tenders in the Kato configuration were completed between 2005 and approximately 2007, and were "restored" to a "steam configuration" as opposed to their insulated, heater equipped state as fuel tenders for U.P. Turbines. Originally, to run as "water bottles" behind either the 844 or the 3985, these tenders simply had the fuel oil remnants washed out, a few fittings put on them, then run behind the 844 and 3985 as auxiliary water tenders. The top ends of the tanks were "clipped" and slanted to allow the massive and hot jet exhaust from the superturbines they were coupled to to freely escape. There were also several ports through the bottom of the oil tanks to allow heaters to heat the thick oil the turbines used as fuel to become runny enough to flow through the plumbing and fuel ports on the turbines. They also had a thick layer of insulation surrounding the riveted tank, which was covered by a sheet metal shell.

    The heaters, the insulation, the sheet metal shell, and the slanted ends were not needed on these when they were used as water tenders for heritage U.P. steam power, so they were "restored" and their original riveted skin was exposed because the insulation and metal shell was stripped away and discarded. The slanted tank tops were also eliminated with new, welded sheet metal and the heater ports were removed and welded shut. These modification make these water bottles look more like period steam cars, even though nothing like them was ever used by U.P. during the steam era...which is why the U.P. Heritage Steam Team considers these modifications a "restoration". As tenders behind their respective TTT 2-10-2's during the steam era, they really didn't look much like they do now that they've been "restored".

    As to what Kato will do with these engines...who knows? I'd like to see them do a single stack or a triple stack FEF-2 or even a double stack one. Since the smokebox is a separate part, as is the pilot, it seems like it wouldn't be too difficult to simply do a drop-coupler, bolt-on FEF-2 pilot to replace the cast swing-coupler FEF-3 pilot...and with appropriate numbers, VOILA!!...a double-stacked, Worthington SA Feedwater Heater equipped late FEF-2. Do a new smokebox with a triple stack and with the new FEF-2 pilot, that'd be another late FEF-2. Keep the cast FEF-3 pilot and add the triple stack...that'd represent three more FEF-3's in a late configuration.

    Lots of things Kato COULD do, that I think would be profitable for them, but they never produced a de-skirted GS-4, which wouldn't have been that difficult and would also have been a profit maker for them. So....who knows????
  4. Traindork

    Traindork TrainBoard Member

    I can't wait! I also hope there's 3-4 numbers within the next year.
  5. Spookshow

    Spookshow TrainBoard Member

  6. nightmare0331

    nightmare0331 TrainBoard Member


    No. The one in those photos taken at Lombard is a more finished recent production sample.

  7. Westfalen

    Westfalen TrainBoard Member

    Ditto. Or maybe 8444 so it will fit in on an excursion on a 1960's era layout.
  8. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Supporter

    I never realized how large the FEF is. It is virtually the same size as the Challenger... which I expected to be much longer overall.

    Meanwhile... we've gotten about 27,000 views on this thread and over 300 replies.
    I think there is FAR more interest in this model than any other steam power announced in the past 8 years. Probably Athearn's initial announcements of the Challengers and Big Boys rival this one.
  9. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    When I visited the Athearn booth and talked with one of their representatives two years ago at the WGH Travelling Show, he was adamant that Athearn had zero plans or desires to build another N-scale steam engine, because there "...is no profit in N-scale."

    I went over to the Kato booth and got told by the rep there that Kato was developing a new western passenger train with a non-SP, non-Santa Fe engine pulling it. Upon further questioning, and after I guessed that it was going to be the 844-pulled U.P. modern excursion train, he relented and said yes.

    Later that day, several other fellow N-scalers confirmed he had told them the same thing, and we were VERY happy!

    One big earthquake and tsunami later, it finally IS happening and I am betting that Athearn is kicking themselves in their collective behinds for not following their HO scale engine release protocol as the FEF-3 would have been their next release in N-scale if they had.

    Frankly, I'm happy that Kato is doing it, as I believe Athearn would have used the Challenger/Big Boy tender as they did in HO scale which is incorrect for the FEF's.

    I hope that this engine and train is a huge money-maker for Kato, which will bode well for further N-scale North American steam engine releases.

    Yes, the FEF-2's and FEF-3's were one of the largest "Northerns" made and certainly through comparative testing of Pennsy and SP equivalent engines, proved itself to be a superior design. Many of the parts and pieces of equipment on the FEF-2's and FEF-3's were interchangeable with the Jabelmann Challengers and Big Boys.

    Here's a photo of an N-scale FEF-3 in what U.P. called "Gray and White" next to an N-scale 3700 Class Challenger, with the pilots being exactly even:

    Just for giggles, I've added a late Big Boy to show just how big this Northern was...very big indeed!

    Oddly, ALCo listed the FEF's as a "General Purpose" engine, even though U.P. had no intention of them being anything but a high speed, and powerful passenger engine. By "high speed", they were designed for a safe maximum speed of 110MPH, but were witnessed hitting 135MPH+ on several occasions with 18 car trains on relatively level grades...which, if officially recorded, would have made them the fastest steam engines EVER, easily outpacing the British "Mallard". But, that didn't happen. Later, when assigned to various freight assignments from 1957 through 1959, they pulled well and reliably in the relatively smooth terrain of Nebraska and eastern Wyoming, so they really were a "general purpose" engine, even though they were used as such only in the last two or three years of their life span.

    Bob Gilmore
  10. arbomambo

    arbomambo TrainBoard Member

    I'm very excited about this one...'my' first 'steamer'-my 1957 modeled era will accept this one easily-I can justify its use as a helper unit.
    I'm NOT going to use mine as the excursion unit, so, at the very least, the whitewall tires and running boards will go (I'll seek Bob's advice on how best to do this; would he recommend stripping and repainting, or just spraying over the white-I'm excited at the prospect of weathering this one-again, my first steamer, so my first go at weathering steam)
    Like all of you, I'm really hoping for massive success for this project; perhaps it would motivate KATO to release the ATSF 4-8-4 (3751 would be the natural choice-I'd prefer the 2900 class)
  11. LeonardNichols

    LeonardNichols TrainBoard Supporter

    Don't forget the SP GS-4 was no slouch, and in this proto picture, look at what fun you can have with the new Kato excursion train:

    Yet another reason to justify my purchase of the Kato FEF & Excursion train.
  12. RedRiverRR4433

    RedRiverRR4433 TrainBoard Member

    Over a period of time, Kato will probably release different versions of the UP FEF 4-8-4, just as they did with the SP GS-4.:cool:

  13. rrunty

    rrunty TrainBoard Supporter

    I'm not a steam guy but from what I saw at the shop, you guys won't be disappointed. It really is a beautiful model and impressive in person. Pictures don't do it justice. The drivers in particular , at least to my eyes, really had a fine scale look to them. I'm going to say that Kato will sell quite a few of these just because of the coolness factor, regardless of what the modeler buying runs on his home layout. With the water bottles and excursion train, Kato appears to have a winner.

  14. EspeeGoldenState

    EspeeGoldenState TrainBoard Member


    And this is what I intend to do, but the 4449 will be the leader majority of the time. That is once the 844 has sound in it as well. Though all my cars will be the 2010 time frame with names.

    Although I have the non Lines version 4449.

  15. drasko

    drasko TrainBoard Member

    Bob I know they were supposed to be all two toned get when converted to oil but it's that just the fef2s and 3s? There's photos on snowcrest of all black fefs with oil on cajon in the time frame of 46-47
  16. robert3985

    robert3985 TrainBoard Member

    I've found that in my research that sometimes the dates on the photos are wrong. Also, U.P. often didn't get around to doing things in what would be considered a "logical order", and perhaps, both two-tone gray paint and conversion to oil didn't get done at the same time in the LA shops (?). I've got photos that are dated 1952 of a U.P. CA-1 caboose still in immaculate Oxide Red instead of Amour Yellow. Okay...is the date right?...or is this a photo of "one that got away"...and wasn't painted yellow until later?

    With the FEF's an easy way to place them is by observing two or more traits rather than only one. If the oil-fired FEF's pictured have both the Worthington SA Feedwater Heater, and are painted black...then the photo is post-1953-54. Add a double, or triple stack (both look virtually identical externally) along with black paint and the SA Feedwater Heater and that adds even mo' cred to the later date. Add smoke lifters and that's usually an indicator of a later date too as most were added during the TT gray period.

    On the other hand, if the oil-fired FEF is black and the angle is such (no view of the fireman's side or views from the side or front of the smokebox) it could be an FEF that has been recently converted to oil, but hasn't been painted TT gray yet. If the photo shows smoke wings, then that's evidence that it's most likely post-TT Gray (post 1953/1954). Notice I said "most likely".

    However, the Kato model wouldn't fit that early prototype, since the model has the Worthington SA Feedwater Heater, applied post-1953-1955 on the 844 and on others later or earlier while in TT gray. There aren't any records I've found that say when the new SA Feedwater Heaters were applied, just dated photos...which I hope are dated correctly!!

    Additionally, if you could post those photos here, I'd like to see 'em.

    Bob Gilmore
  17. Point353

    Point353 TrainBoard Member

    FWIW, the Utah Rails website mentions that the 844 was fitted with smoke deflectors in February 1945 and that all FEFs had them by 1952.
    Also, there's a post on the old Atlas forum claiming that an SA feedwater heater was installed on the 844 in August of 1956.

    Personally, I prefer the "as-built" look:


    Attached Files:

  18. drasko

    drasko TrainBoard Member

    Here's the link to them Bob granted its an fef1
    The reason I find it odd is that I'm pretty sure the last of the fefs operating on the pass would have been in 48-49. The conversion to oil started in 46 and the coal burners most definitely did not operate on Cajon so this had to be an oil burner as it is at san berdoo and in all black like she's headed for a funeral.
  19. Cajonpassfan

    Cajonpassfan TrainBoard Supporter

    Guys, the conversion to oil and the TTG repaint obviously didn't happen at the same time;I think the dates of the all black 800's in the Snowcrest collection are accurate, and they are all 1946, not later.
    Fun stuff!

    Attached Files:

  20. drasko

    drasko TrainBoard Member

    Thank you otto.

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