JMTN blog

(Japanese Model Train Newsletter)

New Kato “Orient Express”

In December, Kato will release a model of a non-Japanese train that ran in Japan !!!

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Fuji Television, between October & December 1988 11 cars from the “Orient Express” train were shipped to Japan, and the journey of this train from Paris to Hong-Kong in September set a world record for the longest train journey ever made. Together with 2 Japanese passenger cars, the train did 18,000 kms around virtually all of Japan and because of this, you could run this train with virtually any type of Japanese loco, steam (D51-498), diesel (DD51’s) or electric (EF65-1000, EF64-1000, EF81, EF75-700 & EF79, as well as EF58-61 the Imperial loco) 🙂

There were 6 sleeping cars, a bar/salon car, 2 dining cars, a baggage car & a crew sleeping car, and these will be released in the following sets …

  • 10-561 – 7 car main set
  • 10-562 – 6 car add-on set

A sideline to this was that in 1988 JR East restored steam loco D51-498 (which is still running today), especially for use with this train, and it usually ran with EF58-61.

This web site has a lot of pictures and other information.

September 6, 2008 - Posted by | Kato


  1. availability of model kato 10-561

    Comment by Derek Garner | October 22, 2010 | Reply

  2. Blaine is correct, the Orient Express cars were fitted with Japanese 1067mm gauge trucks/bogies, type TR47. Apart from perway clearance issues, fitting 1067mm gauge wheelsets in a 1435mm gauge truck would be impractical due to the difference in brake rigging positions and the excessive length of the axle journals.

    Comment by Mark Newton | January 24, 2009 | Reply

  3. As regards the trucks on the Kato model (and assuming, somewhat securely, that Kato matched the prototype), I suspect that they are a Japanese type for multiple reasons:

    1. They don’t look like anything I’ve seen on European stock – they certainly don’t resemble the stock “Pennsylvania” type swan neck originals.
    2. It was likely not adviseable to put 1067mm-gauge wheelsets in a 1435mm-gauge truck due to clearance issues with low-lying lineside equipment.

    That said, they did try to blend the trucks into the picture by painting them (prototype and model) in the pattern of the stock trucks. I can take a close-up photo if y’all want to take a stab at identifying the model’s type.

    Comment by Blaine Bachman | January 8, 2009 | Reply

  4. Not being a JNR-type modeler, I cannot accurately judge the relative size differences between the Japanese cars and the Orient Express units, but I certainly agree that Redracer’s assertion is full of merit.

    Going back to Roberto’s September comment, the seemingly simultaneous announcement at the Lemke/Hobbytrain site caused some early confusion among Euro modelers. But those offerings are billed as (painted) teak wood cars so regardless of whether Kato is the source or not, those cars will be decidedly different (and of a much older prototype). And we (correctly) reasoned that Kato (assuming they were the producer) wouldn’t be using models of teak cars to stand in for what was obviously a train of steel cars.

    Comment by Blaine Bachman | January 8, 2009 | Reply

  5. In that case Blaine, the train should look out of scale, as the 2 Japanese cars will be 1/150 scale ???

    Comment by redracer | January 7, 2009 | Reply

  6. FYI, I received both sets over the weekend and I can definitively state that all of the CIWL cars are built to 1:160 scale. This would seem to indicate that Kato has plans to produce these in other sets (and perhaps individually) for sale in other parts of the world.

    Comment by Blaine Bachman | January 7, 2009 | Reply

  7. Luis, Kato’s web page shows that the main set consists of cars 1,2,7,9,10&13, and the add-on set has the rest.

    Comment by redracer | September 24, 2008 | Reply

  8. Hi all

    It’s possible to know what kind of cars, sleeping car, bar/salon car, dining car, etc, are shipped in each set?.


    Comment by Luis | September 23, 2008 | Reply

  9. Hi Roberto,

    The Orient Express coaches ran on 1067mm gauge in Japan. You are suggesting the trucks were fitted with 1067mm wheelsets while I thought they were fitted with 1067mm gauge bogies to run in Japan.

    I did not know about the Hobbytrain sets. These will definitely be 1/160, while the barrier cars will be to 1/150.

    Comment by Malcolm | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  10. Not all is clear enough, neither on the prototype cars nor on the Kato models about the gauge. In Europe we have 1435 mm like the Shinkansen lines, while in Japan the standard is 1076 mm.

    In one of the pictures linked by Doug (1988.12.11 at 10:43), the train in Japan run on the Japan standard line, been the track on left wider, like a Shinkansen one (1435 mm).

    Looking at pictures where the cars are photographed by side, the trucks seem to be the original europeans with some parts missing. I then feel only the wheels were replaced to allow the cars running around Japan.

    The Kato Orient Express cars scale will probably be 1/160 as the European Kato importer announced some Orient Express cars under the Hobbytrain firm, made by Kato. So, the 1/160 model train will run with 1/150 locomotives.


    Comment by Roberto Uggeri | September 9, 2008 | Reply

  11. Hi Doug,

    I presume two of the coaches will be the JR ones converted to act as end cars between the loco and the Orient Express coaches as these had European side buffers and JR has central buckeyes and no side buffer arrangement.

    All to 1/150 scale I presume.


    Comment by Malcolm | September 9, 2008 | Reply

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