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Bachmann Model Railway Locomotive Reviews -  Class 166 DMU

Author "rmg1919" (forum member)

Recommended - This model is Recommended to purchase. Recommended models should be fully featured and have only a few minor mechanical or detailed limitations. For a railway model to be rated as "Recommended" a model must score 8 or more. Bachmann Class 166 3-Car DMU - Thames Trains (31-026) Rating 8/10

A brilliant model of the Class 166 that can be found up and down the First Great Western Link franchise from Paddington to Reading and Oxford and beyond. Also comes in the older Thames Trains livery.


Model Railway Review - Bachmann Class 166 3-Car DMU - Thames Trains (31-026)

Model Railway Review - Bachmann Class 166 3-Car DMU - Thames Trains (31-026)  Model Railway Review - Bachmann Class 166 3-Car DMU - Thames Trains (31-026) Model Railway Review - Bachmann Class 166 3-Car DMU - Thames Trains (31-026)


Model Number: 31-026
Running Number: 166 209

Price Range: 69-77 inc VAT
Other Liveries: First Great Western Link (31-027)

Firstly, the detail is very good. There are all the warning stickers you'd expect, and the exhausts and detail beneath the coach is pretty good. The two end cars feature directional lights (yellow/red) with the power being picked up off the nearest set of wheels.

The centre car is the power car, and is much heavier than the two 'dummy' cars. There are no traction tyres, but the car has no problem with getting going, and the noise made by the motor is (in my humble opinion) quite similar to that made by a real 166.

The set can be upgraded to DCC, but with 3 cars the use of function-only decoders (or some form of cable interlink) would be necessary in order to retain the directional light functionality. As the 3 cars form something of a permanent set it doesn't seem unreasonable to consider joining the cars rather than going to the expense of function-only decoders. Though this would obviously involve some modifications to the body shells.

The livery is very good too - the only thing missing is some dirt and grime on the roof from the exhausts. With such a white roof, it takes quite a bit of bottle to smear some grime on -- so am waiting until I have built up the courage.

Handling is very good - with no real problems, though super elevated sections do pose a potential problem for the 166, with the centre car being so much heavier than the others the risk of derailment does seem higher, based on my experiments.

Speed is good too - not sure if it's too scale, but doesn't seem ridiculous like some. Plus (based on DC) seems as comfortable at slow speed as at full speed.

Overall, a great DMU - with plenty of detail, and a good presence. The lighter livery (plenty of white) makes a nice contrast to the darker coloured stock currently available. The only 'issues' are the yellow directional LEDs and the slight inconvenience that will be a DCC conversion.

At a Glance

Good Points

  • Good detail

  • Directional lights

  • Good power

Bad Points

  • 'Yellow' directional lights could be better (i.e. whiter)

  • No DCC socket and hassle given 2 end cars


Highly Recommended - an absolute must for those modelling a 166 era and geography. In fact, will hopefully get myself the FGWL livery one too...



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