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N Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400 DCCS Locomotive with factory installed LokSound Review

Kato UP5400 ES44AC Diesel Locomotive N scale

March 15, 2024 (early AM). This is a review of a locomotive purchased from MB Klein’s website. I purchased it just before they shut down under Hattons acquisition management. However, during the shutdown, I received a couple notices from requesting that I write a review of the locomotive. I don’t think I even tried to do so because previous attempts to reach their website resulted in a message that they were temporarily closed and uncertain when they would be operational again. Over time, the message actually changed from the first time I saw it. As you may be aware, as of the date of this writing, Model Train Stuff is definitely going to be returning under new ownership as a result of a fellow North Carolina Hobby Business Reseller Joe Grubba, who owns and operates Factory Direct Hobbies. Several days ago, via a comment on a Facebook notice in a group that I am a member of, I stated that I would go ahead and do this train review but that it would most likely have to appear on my website since the website is still currently inaccessible.

The Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400 locomotive was ordered on November 27th, 2023, and received on December 11th, 2023. I mention this because as you can see, it took about 14 days (2 weeks) to arrive which is a little long for a shipment from Cockeysville, Maryland to reach Belmont, North Carolina. There is a video (that I am certain hasn’t been posted yet) where I mention the uncomfortable delay experienced regarding this shipment and the odd tracking information I received. Anyway, I opened this locomotive off camera the day it was received. I examined it and test ran it on the 11th of December 2023. However, as mentioned, I didn’t make a video or take any still photos of the locomotive the first day it was received.

The N scale Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400 DCCS Locomotive is a DCC Sound Equipped locomotive. It comes with a pre-installed LokSound decoder. For me, this is a first! All of my other N scale Kato locomotives started out as either DC only or DCC Ready. There was a time when Kato USA had their Kobo Shop install decoders on certain units either by request or on special runs. I do not see any notices on their website today discussing or offering Kobo upgrades. However, a couple of forums suggest that there was a Kobo series of trains made. I do not remember it being a “series” but as I said, there was an American service provided via that offered DCC installs. All I know is that the locomotive was actually listed on Model Train Stuff and is listed at as having a LokSound decoder pre-installed in it.

I purchased this locomotive for several specific reasons. And those reasons have already been talked about in videos (that have not been posted yet, unfortunately). So, I will go ahead and mention the reasons now. {However, when the “Project” that this locomotive was purchased for appears on the site I will replace this sentence with a link to it.}

I have good size collection of N scale Union Pacific passenger cars. Even though I have other UP Diesel locomotives, I have a 7-piece Union Pacific Passenger Excursion set that I decided to also operate as part of a President Bush Funeral Train. I previously added the Bush #4141 locomotive to the collection. Research and videos of the train consist that made up the Bush funeral train show that the second locomotive that appeared right after the Bush #4141 engine was a Union Pacific SD70ACe Diesel Engine #8008. I looked extensively across practically every N scale provider for a UP #8008 SD70ACe locomotive in N scale. However, I did not find one. So, I settled for a locomotive that was on sale, has sound in it, and looks similar to the UP8008. The UP #5400 is what I chose to be the second locomotive in my Bush funeral train model. Plus, the locomotive can easily be used to pull any of my other UP fleet of both passenger and freight cars.

I do not remember the exact details of my initial test of the N Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400. I just glanced at my catalog spreadsheet where I keep all the information about my train collection and there are no notes entered for the 11th of December. This doesn’t mean I didn’t take some notes. I typically try to do my best to make notes and there exist a slew of handwritten notes clipped to a clipboard that is about 1.5″ thick of notes and purchases that have not yet been entered into my spreadsheet. There may be handwritten notes for the 11th of December among the stack of papers clipped to the clipboard just waiting for me to get the time to enter them. Only time will tell. For now, all I remember is that the locomotive ran very well (otherwise, I would have remembered that it didn’t, for sure).

On December the 12th, Day 2 of ownership, I took the first video presented below. Unfortunately, this video is NOT very impressive. In fact, I didn’t get the locomotive to function well at all on that particular day. Here, you will see the mishaps that occurred.

Since Day 2, I have operated the locomotive successfully on several occasions and have taken videos of the successful runs. However, one of those videos is 98 minutes long and the other video might be 2.5 hours long. In both cases, those videos are SIDEWAYS currently. Although I did not intend to do so, those videos start out with the camera oriented vertically and shortly after the start-up the camera is rotated horizontally. However, the videos have come out oriented vertically. It will take quite some time to rotate those videos {if the software I use will even let me do it. I’m thinking there is a 10-minute limitation built into the software and therefore it might not even load either of those videos up to allow them to be rotated. I will have to look, see, and update you on this later}.

It is 4:26 AM as I write this line. The photos that I have taken thus far need to be made ready for the website and although the video has been uploaded to YouTube, I need to finish its write-up. I need to get up earlier than usual in a few hours for a busy day today, so I will have to come back and finish this later. Because of that I will attempt to pull the locomotive out again, take a few close-up photos so you can see the details of the locomotive and one more video of just the locomotive running by itself. Hopefully it will prove to be a short video. And if I can get that done before bed tonight and posted on YouTube, then by Saturday, this REVIEW will be updated and if all goes well, you will get a better take on the LOCOMOTIVE itself. You’ve already been presented with some of drama. Trust me, it’s not over with yet. Trains in my collection have personalities and this newcomer is no different. In fact, it has become a CHARACTER already, establishing its behavior, making me ADAPT to deal with its idiosyncrasies. It is intertwined with a lot of projects that I have been working on since before Christmas and while it may take a couple years before I get the website updated with what just took place over the past 3 to 4 months, just know that I am working very hard, investing numerous hours, working on train projects.

Day 2 Video involving the Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400.

N Kato Union Pacific ES44AC #5400 with LokSound Day 2 test run
Day 2 testing of N scale Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400 with LokSound.

March 15, 2024 @ 10:06 PM. I just finished taking some more close-up photos of the N scale Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400 DCCS GEVO locomotive. I followed the photos by recording a video that last a little over 20 minutes. It would take nearly 3 hours 15 minutes to prepare the photos and videos for inclusion in this page. @ 1:12 AM I settled on how I wanted things to look and put together the following presentation:

I worked on putting together an N scale Train for Christmas 2023. The presentation for that is yet to be posted on the website. However, one of the tests that I conducted with the passenger cars of the Christmas train set was conducted with the Kato UP5400 Diesel pulling those Christmas passenger cars. Those tests are the first photos I took of the Kato UP5400 from Thus, the following picture gallery shows those photos and the video above was made during that testing time as well.

The pictures and video that I took on March 15th, 2024, show the N scale Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400 Locomotive by itself with some close-up photos. The video below the gallery was made to highlight my opinions and review of the Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400 Locomotive.

N Kato Union Pacific GEVO ES44AC Diesel Engine 5400 DCCS Locomotive train review video 2024-03-15

March 18, 2024 @ 1:00 PM. I finally clicked on the email from Model Train Stuff whereby they requested that I leave a review of the N Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400. I filled in the review and hit submit to publish it. I do not know if that worked or not because what I received was a Blank page after hitting submit. I think this is as I suspected meaning I don’t think it is possible to get a review to publish on right now since the day they temporarily shut down their website. Nonetheless, I gave the review 4 stars. The following is exactly what I submitted via the email response:

Title Name: Kato N 1768954-S GE ES44AC Union Pacific #5400 Diesel Locomotive Review

Review: I made a very detailed full review of this locomotive on my website at the following URL: complete with close-up photos and operational videos.

In summary, the locomotive is very nice. It has moderate, molded-in details that won’t break, get smashed, or fall off. Everything looks very close to scale. The sound is rich and louder than MRC drop-in sound decoders but not as loud as BLI Paragon3 & 4 models. The locomotive comes without a printed function list. In fact, I don’t even remember seeing the standard Exploded Diagram paper. It might be underneath the foam inside the jewel case though. The locomotive runs very well, sounds good, and looks great. However, I had some issues operating it on my Atlas Code 55 tracks. It probably runs best on 11″ and greater radius curves.

It can run on 9 3/4″ radius curves but at low speeds. This is the first and only Kato locomotive that I have in my collection that came with a Decoder Pre-Installed by Kato. It’s good to see that they have caught up with what has become a normal and standard feature provided by most model train manufacturers. I give this locomotive 4 out of 5 stars with the 1 unearned star being because the locomotive will not run at all available speeds in all directions all over my Atlas Code 55 layout. It probably runs perfectly on Code 80 track. I recommend this locomotive to N scale fans and modelers of Union Pacific.

Note: After I updated this post with today’s attempt to submit the review to MTS, I clicked the BACK button on the blank page and returned to my filled-in email review. I decided to click publish again just to see what would happen. This time, I received an MTS logo and a Thank you for my review mentioning my name. So, the second time a website did accept the submission. The site named in the URL on the thank you page though was “” and not This could be normal. I do not remember submitting a previous review to MTS via email before. I may have been logged into the website the last time I did a review which was probably years ago. Well, regardless, the N Kato Union Pacific ES44AC Diesel Engine #5400 DCCS Locomotive has now definitely been thoroughly reviewed so anyone looking for a review of this locomotive should be able to search and find one located somewhere…