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Rolling stock advice on couplers, before I can buy


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Hello folks,

I am in the US and would like to buy some Kato Japan rolling stock which is available locally. All my locomotives have knuckle couplers only (Kato and Micro-Trains type). Could I please be helped, if any of these cars have suitable couplers.


1. https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Kato-N-101744A-Series-103-Sky-Blue-Intermediate-Car-Add-on-Set/

2. https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/Kato-N-101724-Post-Office/Baggage-Car-Set-Tokaido-Line-Sanyo-Set-B/

3. https://www.modeltrainstuff.com/kato-n-10870-series-24-sleeper-4-car-add-on-set-twilight-express/





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1. No, easily changed to Kato knuckles and maybe to MT couplers. These are intermediate cars of an EMU.

2. No, easily changed to Kato knuckles and maybe to MT couplers.

3. Yes, comes equiped with knuckle couplers.


You can easily find pictures of each sets by searching the Kato item code, 10-xxxx.

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Yavaris Forge

First be warned that the 103 series set you linked is just an add-on set without a motor car. The baggage car set comes with standard arnold couplers afaik, these can easily be changed to Kato knuckle couplers. The Twilight Express set is an add-on set as well, but since it was a loco-hauled consist anyway you need a locomotive for it. This set comes with knuckle couplers pre-equpped as can be seen here.

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Thank you Disturb and Yavaris. Appreciate the help!


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Posted (edited)

The Kato loco hauled passenger coach in a bookcase set always come with knuckle couplers to replace the pre-installed rapido couplers as long as it is listed as a base set. 

If an add-on set, it depends on the coaches whether it is compatible with Kato knuckle couplers, some may require some modification or purchasing spares for similar coaches that have the correct knuckle coupler mounting. 

The knuckle couplers are identical to those that come with Kato American locomotives but don't have the eyelet for the magnet bar, or the bar itself. These have now been made available for Japanese rolling stock through Kato's Hobby Center. I prefer the short shank ones as some come with rather long versions that leave a sizeable gap between loco and stock.


The reason you need a base set in some instances, is that sometimes the intermediate coaches use a different coupler type entirely, as is the case with Kato's 24 series coaches.


No Included Knuckle - 10-870

The Twilight Express Add-on set you listed actually doesn't come with correct knuckle couplers as @disturbman and @Yavaris Forge hinted at so I may say that their information is indeed correct, but with a slight discrepancy. These particular coaches in this set come with a kind of thin knuckle, but one that Kato only uses generally between their 24 series and Kiha 80 DMU coaches. This coupler clicks together with another of the same type to give close coupling but is not intended to be used in combination with other couplings. You may find it would couple to one of your Kato or MT knuckles but would not be that reliable. You would actually need the base set 10-869 for the end coaches that have an exact Kato knuckle coupler. Both Intermediate and end couplers are chassis mounted.


 Included Knuckle - 10-1724 (Optional Knuckle Coupler for the Mani 61 and Mani 36 ends) 

The Post office baggage set , I believe is not a set rake, more a collection of suitable coaches to make up a mail train although some will have working taillights to put on the train end. In this case, I believe all coaches come with rapidos, you get knuckles included for the tail-lit end coaches but in theory all coaches could be updated with knuckles by losing the bogie mounted rapidos. The knuckle couplers would be an additional purchase from Kato, I think only as a replacement part rather than an optional part if you wanted them on all coaches but you get a couple for the tail light ends so could have a fixed rake. Alternatively, you could add a non functioning Kato knuckle as an optional part, which certainly can be used with Kato loco couplers without issue but would have to test with MT.


No Included Knuckle 10-1744A

The series 103 set  is an older designed set of an EMU. Most of the newer EMU sets use a prototypical chassis mounted Shibata style coupler which cannot be replaced with a knuckle. However these sets, being older (designed, not released), use a bogie mounted rapido coupler like the mail set, so in theory could take compatible knuckle. Although as mentioned, they are a model of intermediate cars within a fixed length EMU so wouldn't be loco hauled.  However, as your intention is to run American locos with Japanese stock, this probably won't concern you so in theory these could also work, with some additional purchased knuckle couplers.


I hope this post gives a little more clarity to your selected rolling stock.

Edited by Kamome
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Thank you Kamome, for the detailed explanation.


With reference to the 10-1744A Series 103 add-on set (which I have ordered), you observe very correctly that I am braking many rules, hauling an EMU with a loco and that too an American one! 😬. Also, as you correctly summarized, it doesn't concern me a lot, so I went ahead and ordered it anyway! 😝


Since it's an add-on set, I understand that there will be no replacement knuckle couplers included and that I will need to make a purchase from Kato. I will wait for the item to arrive and then maybe post a pic here to get advice on which might be a suitable replacement coupler.


Appreciate all the help.

Best regards,






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I got the Kato 10-1744A Series 103 add-on set and I like it!

Am pasting a pic of its truck. Could I please be helped with the appropriate replacement truck part # which comes with the knuckle type coupler?

Thanks, Krish

Kato truck with Rapido.jpg

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You don't need to change the trucks, just the couplers.

You can try 28-187/28-188 for short coupling or 11-702/11-707. Giving you two numbers because I can't see if you need gray or black couplers.

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Thank you. I think I will go for 11-702. It's long & black.

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