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Kato - New Releases

Darren Jeffries

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2 minutes ago, maihama eki said:

Who makes the other 10? Google shows me a Kato/Lemke version from 2011.

Yeah that's the one I meant.

These were released in late 2011/early 2012:



Also there were some ET426s it seems:


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maihama eki

Has there ever been an n-scale version of any of these modern S-Bahn from the usual German manufacturers - Arnold, Fleishmann, Minitrix, Piko... ?


I remember seeing an HO version of one of these.

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Piko made some, like the BR440 and Talent. There's also something available from Liliput

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maihama eki

Perhaps all long sold out before I was interested.


I'm looking forward to seeing a modern Kato version.

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1 hour ago, maihama eki said:

A departure from the regularly scheduled theme, but I had to preorder the DB Type ET425 Electric Car `DB Regio` Four Car Set.



I've spent a lot of time on local trains like this in Germany. The last time I was in Germany, I asked a model train shop guy in Munich if he had ever seen an n-scale version of an S-Bahn type train. My German is a little weak, but I'm pretty sure his answer was something like "there's no market for it".




I was tempted to order the ET425. I've never ridden on one of those but I hope to sometime soon when the virions are history.


What I'd really like to get my hands on would be an old style 90's Munich S-bahn. The only ones I've found are this ancient Arnold model, and a Munich ariport shuttle that shows up on ebay a lot. 



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20 hours ago, JR 500系 said:

The original poster... I'm i'm safe again!  🙂


Praise the gods! Though I'm not as lucky as you I'm afraid...


At first glance I had hoped that Kato would be releasing a model of the E2 series 0 sub-type J formations. But I immediately thought about adding another 1000 sub-type to my collection, especially if they have been nice enough to release a different formation this time.

And as we all know, new running numbers means a new model, which means you don't have to be summoned for purchasing another model of the same series... right?


13 hours ago, gavino200 said:

I wonder why JR called off their little double decker experiment.


There were a number of reasons, both operational and technical in nature.


For the operational part, both the E1 series and the E4 series were built as a result of increasing passenger numbers during the 1990's, after the opening of the Tōkyō-Ueno section of the Tōhoku Shinkansen. Unlike the Tōkaidō Shinkansen though, a large part of this surge was the result of an increased demand for commuter services, mainly from the areas around Tōkyō now within about an hour travel time from Tōkyō station. As they were designed with commuter services in mind they had a number of differences in comparison to previous designs. In terms of passenger accommodations, they were fitted with 3+3 seating (with fixed seat backs and no armrests) for unreserved cars and wider doors to make up for the same number of exits now having to serve a much higher number of passengers (which hinders the passenger flow).


The results were a bit mixed, with the E1 series being 12 car formations, they turned out to be a bit too inflexible for off peak services, and as such when the E4 series was designed they decided to go for 8 car formations, which allowed for either combined running with a second E4 formation, or as was often the case on the Tōhoku shinkansen combined running with either a 400 series formation, or after the retirement of the 400 series shinkansen between 2008 and 2010, an E3 series 1000/2000 sub-type formation. The E4 series would displace the E1 series shinkansen on the Tōhoku Shinkansen in 1999.


All in all, 32 formations would be constructed between the E1 series and the E4 series:


- 6 E1 series 12 car formations (M1~M6) built between 1994 and 1995,

- 26 E4 series 8 car formations (P1~P22, P51/P52 and P81/P82) were built between 1997~2001 (P1~P16, P51/P52 and P17~P22) and in 2003 (P81 and P82).


In the late 1990's and the early 2000's passenger numbers started to plateau, and even decrease on some sections. Hence why there was no more need for additional double decks shinkansen, and the final E4 series formations, P81 and P82 (both built with the ability to run on the Nagano/Hokuriku shinkansen) were completed in July and November 2003 respectively. With the first extensions of the Tōhoku Shinkansen opening in 2002 and 2010 respectively, and the completion of the first phase of the Hokkaidō Shinkansen edging closer, JR East seems to have refocused on higher operating speeds for the Tōhoku shinkansen, since the mid 2000's. This was also accompanied by a switch towards more comfort/luxury with the introduction of the Granclass concept starting with the E5 series. Eventually this led to the E4 series becoming surplus on the Tōhoku Shinkansen, with their lower speed starting to interfere with the new E5 series starting operation in March of 2011. In 2012 they were to retire from the Tōhoku Shinkansen, and to be used on the Jōetsu Shinkansen only, replacing the 6 E1 series formations. The last E4 series was retired from the Tōhoku Shinkansen in September of 2012, while in the same month the last E1 series formation was retired from active service. Scrapping of the first E4 series formations started in 2013 (formations P2 and P3) but the bulk of retirements and scrapping wouldn't start until 2017.


And that's more or less the situation as we have it today, as the operational situation shifted during the early 2000's, the need for double decks shinkansen evaporated, while newer and faster single decks shinkansen could provide most of the services the E1 and E4 series could, while increased frequency helped to increase capacity during peak periods. In short, with the exception to a low number of services during peak hours, the double decks shinkansen simply lost their raison d'etre, and will slowly fade from existence, with cars from both series retiring once they reach their expected end of life (with a number of the remaining E4 series formations gaining a short extended lease on life because of typhoon 19).



While @Yavianice and @EdF have already mentioned some of the technical issues, there are a few others which made designing double decks shinkansen a bit more restricted in comparison to single deck shinkansen:


- Micro pressure (also known as the piston effect). When a train travels at speed it tries to push the air in front of it out of the way, this creates an area of high(er) pressure in front of the train, while the aft end of the train will experience an area of low(er) pressure which means the surrounding air will try to fill in this gap (creating a current along the sides of the train (which should, if I understand it correctly, also create a localized area of low pressure along the sides of a passing train), with moving air rolling in from behind as the train has passed. As the air flow between the high(er) pressure area in the front of the train, and the low pressure area aft of the train is not fast enough to equalize the pressure between both points, the pressure at the front of the train will continue to increase the faster the train goes.


This creates a few issues, the first being when trains pass one another, the pressure waves from both trains will come into contact with one another, and because the space is suddenly much tighter (because of the trains passing) the air will try to compress (which it can't, at least not fully) and afterwards push away the objects in its way (i.e. the trains) and find a way to escape (above and to the rear). This is the jolt you will feel when two trains pass at speed (or the door rattle when two commuter trains pass). This is of course a much bigger issue when traveling at high speeds, hence why streamlining (this helps reduce the frontal area, which is a factor in the severity of the micro pressure) becomes essential above certain speeds (among other reasons of course).


The biggest issue though, at least for the shinkansen, is what this pressure wave does when entering a tunnel. As the air pocket in front of the train is suddenly compressed, and is there is no room to the sides and upwards, it is forced forwards towards the other end of the tunnel. As this compression creates a localized area of over pressure the air is accelerated forwards creating a shock wave. When this shock wave exits the tunnel it creates a loud sound, a form of sonic boom if you will.

As the shinkansen uses a relatively narrow tunnel diameter in comparison to other high speed rail system, while also operating under very strict noise regulations, this has been a big issue in Japan ever since faster shinkansen started being designed in the 1990's.


It is the primary reason behind the way the nose designs of the 'modern' (mid 1990's onward) shinkansen has developed the way it did.

As the frontal area is one of the most important factors, one way of mitigating this is by stretching the nose to the point where the nose extends over a large portion of the end cars, while also reducing the cross section by going for a oval cross section. This is what JR West did for the 500 series, by creating a 15m nose section long they were able to reduce the frontal area considerably in comparison to the 300 series. This does however come at the cost of reduced space, and an unusable door (for anyone other than crew) at the front of the end cars.

The second, and much more common, is by optimizing the shape of the nose section to such an extend that the local airflow is also taken into account /managed (which is quite complex to explain, to be honest I'd say I get the concept in the vaguest sense of the word, but I wouldn't be able to explain the physics behind it if I had to). This creates a more optimized nose section, which is able to reduce the frontal area to a similar extend of what they achieved with the 500 series nose design, with a shorter nose area and a rectangular cross section.

This is what has been used, in different forms, on series like the E2, E5, 700, N700 series etc etc.


Now why all this exposition? well simple really, as the E1 series and E4 series, or any other double decks design for that matter, require a relatively large cross section in order to be able to fit two floors, the cross section of those trains will be naturally larger. This also means that the frontal area will be larger as well, and as such the micro pressure effect will be larger as well. As a matter of fact, the E1 series was the first shinkansen to have a nose designed to help alleviate this issue, while the slightly newer E4 series took this concept even farther. However, even with a more advanced nose design, the E4 series was still limited to the same maximum service speed as the E1 series (240 km/h), while at the same time sporting a longer nose section (11.5 m versus 9.4 m for the E1 series). And the size becomes even more apparent when compared to a number of, faster, contemporary designs, like for instance: the E2 series (275 km/h service speed (J formations, the N formations were limited to 260km/h because of the Hokuriku Shinkansen)) at 9.1 m, the 700 series (285 km/h service speed) at 9.2 m, and even the N700 series (300 km/h service speed) at 10.7 m.



Some examples of the tunnel boom phenomena:



The video below perfectly illustrates the piston effect. At 0:12 the pressure wave exits the tunnel, while it takes until about the 2:00 mark for the train itself to appear.

This video was taken at the Fukushima Tunnel on the Tōhoku Shinkansen (south of Fukushima station), this tunnel is ~11.8 km in length, which explains why there is such a long delay between the arrival of the pressure wave and the time the train actually shows up. Also notice the pressure increase after the train has passed, this the air trying to fill in the low pressure area aft of the train.


This tunnel is also equipped with vents at the end of the tunnel (which you are looking at in this video), which help dissipate the shock wave when exiting the tunnel.



While optimization of the nose design is one of the methods used to alleviate the effects of micro pressure,

changes to the infrastructure are used as well.

By adding a metal 'hood' at the end of a tunnel, with venting holes on the sides (similar to the previous example) it is possible to dissipate the shock wave, and therefore lessen the energy, and thus the sound of the shock wave.




- Sound is another issue faced by double deck designs. While this is related to the issue I discussed earlier, it is of course something which doesn't just appear when entering tunnels.

The shinkansen has to adhere to very strict environmental regulations, which apply to noise pollution as well. This was all brought to the forefront by the Nagoya Shinkansen lawsuits, which was filed by a group of residents living along the Tōkaidō Shinkansen in 1974. This led to the establishment of new noise regulations for the shinkansen, starting in 1975, though initially they would be limited to newly designed trains. This meant that the noise pollution generated by the shinkansen has to be limited to 75 db or less. Because of their size and weight, double deck designs are at a natural disadvantage. Because of their larger cross section, more aerodynamic noise will be generated for a similar speed (though they have the advantage, due to their size, that the pantographs can be mounted without any covers), while their added weight will lead to (relatively) higher mechanical noise generation.

This is another issue they had to content with, and also one of the limiting factors when trying to design a double decks design capable of higher operating speeds.


- Another, though in comparison minor issue, is that double decks designs have less space for auxiliary equipment.

As most of the electrical equipment on the shinkansen is normally situated underfloor, this becomes a bit of an issue when designing a double decks shinkansen, as the 1st floor has to be located quite low in order to lower the center of gravity, and also to keep within the loading gauge. This means that there's no space below the car body to mount the necessary equipment. As such, specialized machine compartments have to be designed which take up extra space on some of the vestibule sections, which in turn leads to a loss in usable space. As such, the passenger capacity is only about 130% (depending on the car) of a similar single deck car.



12 hours ago, Yavianice said:

Still think it's a dumb idea because 11 car E7's have much less capacity than a double decker E4. 


If we're talking about two combined E4 series formations, sure. However, only a part of the services are actually operated by 8+8 car E4 series formations. While the large majority of the services are done by single formations, which in term of capacity are more or less at the same level as a 10 car E2 series formation (J formations, 817 versus 813 (E2 series J51~J75 sub-group) seats), while a 12 car E7 formation has more seats than a single E4 series formation (934/924 (after the addition of extra luggage space) seats) while also including Granclass, which the E4 series doesn't have.


And while a single E7 series formation doesn't come close to a combined E4 series service, the requirement for this capacity is such a small part of the services they are used in, that it makes little sense to keep a small sub-fleet of specialized equipment, with their own unique part inventory and a number of operational limitations just for a handful services.


To illustrate, if we look at the current (midweek) timetable we can deduce the following


There are currently 10 descending services for the E4 series:


-> 8 are scheduled for an 8 car formation

-> 2 services are scheduled for a 16 car formation (8+8), 1 of those is split at Echigo-Yuzawa, where one of the formations continues to Niigata (services like these are a combined Max Tanigawa (to Echigo-Yuzawa) and Max Toki (to Niigata) both with their own train numbers


While there are 12 ascending services:


-> 10 are scheduled for an 8 car formation

-> 2 are scheduled for a 16 car formation (8+8), both running from Niigata to Takasaki as a single 8 car formation (Max Toki), before combining with another 8 car formation (Max Tanigawa) for the section to Tōkyō.


source: https://www.jreast-timetable.jp/


So out of 22 scheduled service, only 4 are operated by combined formations.

The weekend timetable has the same number of 8+8 services, but reduces the total number of E4 services. Giving a slight edge, in terms of percentages to the combined services.


Now this might not be entirely fair, as this represents the March 2021 timetable revision, which included a further reduction in services for the E4 series, as well as the effects of COVID 19. But, as far as I can tell, the ratios didn't really change all that much over the last couple of years.


As to whether this is a dumb idea or not, I'd like to think the people at JR East have a better grasp of the operational requirements of their shinkansen (which I might add, they have operated for 32 years by now) than we do, especially as they seem to have been planning the retirement of the E4 series since at least 2013.


I mean, it's not like I'm personally looking forward to the retirement of the E4 series, but it does make a lot of sense from an operational standpoint.



Edited by 200系
Forgot to complete a section of my post. fixed
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wow, Encyclopedia-系 strikes again

Edited by roadstar_na6
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Thanks for the info Sander, you're the go-to guy for this kinda stuff!

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I have one of the earlier KATO ET425.  Was it a Lemke or a Noch coproduction?   I am away In Florida for a family vacation and can't check.  I have the women's fussball special livery one. 


I'd like to get the new release as well but am still on moratorium.  I saw the KATO tweet with it listed and my heart raced a bit.  It is a nice runner (speaking of the earlier release).  

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JR 500系
10 hours ago, katem said:

In case you missed the special announcement poster yesterday, just like I did, you can find it here after the original tweet got deleted. 


Thanks! I guess we know now which models are the ones that the fan base in Japan is looking for... I for one is all up for that East-i!

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JR 500系

Thanks Sander @200系!  You're the man! It really is interesting to know so much thought and engineering had gone into the tunnel design... I never knew the sound emitting from the end of the tunnel due to air pressure could be so great it sounded like a pistol/ cannon going off!!! I'll imagine if i stay somehwere near a tunnel and had to deal with shocking and possibly sudden pistol sounds going off, i'll be mad too...

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Takahama Trainwatcher
On 3/26/2021 at 1:45 PM, JR 500系 said:



Hot off the press!!! 


Now, which consist to get... hhhmmmmm.... 

According to the Kato page for this model, this is DCC Friendly. I don't recall having seen any previous E257 releases being DCC Friendly. Could this, then, be a new mould?

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JR 500系
1 hour ago, Takahama Trainwatcher said:

According to the Kato page for this model, this is DCC Friendly. I don't recall having seen any previous E257 releases being DCC Friendly. Could this, then, be a new mould?


The re-released version of the E257 in the original livery is. (10-1275, 1276) It says DCCフレンドリー対応。 which means DCC-friendly, so this Odoriko is probably just a re-colouring of the previous set... 


Not so sure about the previous earlier version of the E257-500 or the very first E257 though, it didnt say it was DCC-friendly...

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55 minutes ago, JR 500系 said:


The re-released version of the E257 in the original livery is. (10-1275, 1276) It says DCCフレンドリー対応。 which means DCC-friendly, so this Odoriko is probably just a re-colouring of the previous set... 


Not so sure about the previous earlier version of the E257-500 or the very first E257 though, it didnt say it was DCC-friendly...

I have the Azusa/Kaiji 10-433/10-434

and the Boso colour E257 500 10-1282.

Neither were DCC friendly.


Interestingly, reading the PDF of the newer Azusa release, the cab end with the walkway has the same twist on\off switch so may not take a Kato decoder. 

Edited by Kamome
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I find Kato describing DCC friendly misleading. One aspect maytake a decoder, they they list it as DCC friendly.


So this model will take a decoder for the interior lights, so this will be the reason for the description.


Some trains take a decoder for the end cab directional lights only, and not the motor car. And get the same description also etc etc.

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11 hours ago, 200系 said:

while a 12 car E7 formation has more seats than a single E4 series formation (934/924 (after the addition of extra luggage space) seats) while also including Granclass, which the E4 series doesn't have


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't GranClass only accessible for long distance trips? (e.g. Tokyo to Niigata, perhaps to Echigo-Yuzawa) and closed all other times, like on the E5, making it totally redundant/waste of space on trips that are shorter than these 'long haul' services or services that call in every station?


If so, I wouldn't count GranClass to the maximum capacity. Also why do all E7's have GranClass if it is not used all the time, such a waste, and a super expensive one at that both for the customer and the operator

Edited by Yavianice
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@roadstar_na6, I'm afraid I have no other choice but to use that as my life's motto, from this point onward😅


@Yavianice, I have to admit, I've never been all that interested in GranClass, nor the operational details related to it. To me the concept of GranClass goes against some of the concepts I've always liked about the shinkansen. The shinkansen have always been, among other things, designed around capacity (hence the use of such a large loading gauge), functionality and efficiency. This can be seen in both the exterior design (if you look beyond the nose sections, even the most modern designs are usually quite functional looking, businesslike but not extravagant in terms of design. And even the nose sections, as I mentioned in my previous post, are designed mostly around their functionality rather than aesthetics) as well as the interiors, which are usually quite functional, when compared to your average limited express. The GranClass concept breaks with this concept, and I've personally never been a big fan of this. It also creates an air of exclusivity, which doesn't really mesh with the concept behind the shinkansen, but I digress.

So long story short, I couldn't give you a proper response to your question/statement, at least not from the top of my head.


However, I did some digging around, and from what I could find GranClass seems to be accessible on other trips as well, it's just not sold as full service.

Apparently they do sell just the seats, so without all the extra amenities normally associated with GranClass  (attendant service etc?), at reduced rates.


As the number of GranClass seats per E7 formation is quite limited, a grand total of 18 seats, let's exclude them for fairness sake.

In this case the capacity is dropped from 924 to 906 seats per formation. This does drive the difference in capacity to less than 100 passengers (89 vs 107 passengers), however, this will just tighten the gap by a small margin as even without those GranClass seats a single E7 series would still carry more passengers than a single E4 series formation. For another comparison, a 10 car E2 series J formation (J51~J75 group) has a seating capacity of 813 seats, only 4 seats less than an 8 car E4 series formation.


So while I do get where you're coming from, I don't think it changes much in the end. Now if you want to argue that GranClass is very inefficient in terms of the ratio between the number of seats and the seating area they occupy, I would be in total agreement with you, as I do have my own opinion on the GranClass concept (as stated above), but it does seem to work for JR East 🤷‍♂️.



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On 4/2/2021 at 2:02 PM, gavino200 said:

I’ll order the E2. I actually think the double deckers are a bit ugly, but I want to collect all the Shinkansens, so It’s a must.



take care, collecting all 🤑 (or much worse ALL 🤪) the Shinkansens "seriously damages health"  (especially for married people)

someone told me why don't you do drugs like everyone else? it's a less expensive hobby 😜


p.s. a train named MAX can't be ugly



Massimo (Max in english)

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It was the E4 Max that actually got me interested in Japanese railways and was my first Japanese n scale model. Far more interested in JNR era these days but this was my launch point into the downward spiral of Japanese n gauge. 

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On 4/5/2021 at 6:19 PM, jappomania said:

collecting all 🤑 (or much worse ALL 🤪) the Shinkansens

Shinkanmon - Gotta Collect 'Em All

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10 hours ago, Kamome said:

It was the E4 Max that actually got me interested in Japanese railways and was my first Japanese n scale model.

 Me too, still love it. 


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On 2/10/2021 at 10:40 AM, serotta1972 said:

KATO started new promotion. Kato gives gold colored EF65 to 65 people. I will enclose a post card for joining lucky draw with purchase of Kato item more than 10000 Yen. I will later post how to fill the postcard. Already confirmed KATO will accept those from oversea customers.

I have one of these postcards if anyone wants it to enter into the contest. Pm me if you want it.



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Suburban Hashigami Station Building-How to install on a suburban island platform DX-



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