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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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