REVIEW: Bachmann Western Pullman


Andy York takes a closer look at Bachmann's new Western Pullman train set complete with Dynamis Railcontroller software.

This is an amazing flagship model for Bachmann with not just the much-acclaimed six-car Pullman at its heart, but it also includes the well-featured Dynamis Ultima DCC system.

The Ultima system may seem overkill for a train set, but it should be considered as the future system for your entire DCC layout. It contains the Dynamis handset and the Pro box, which boosts the power capabilities to three amps with the potential to add further power boosters for a very large layout. Up to four Dynamis handsets can be linked to the same Pro box to cater for multiple operators and additional infra-red receivers to position around a large layout if necessary. The Ultima system includes a USB interface to utilise the evaluation version of the Dynamis Railcontroller Software included within the set. Also inside is a standard oval of track, ideal for setting the system up and testing all the features and functions of the Pullman unit before setting it free on your layout.

Often referred to as a ‘Blue Pullman’ there were always two distinct variations, the six-car Midland Pullman, which ran between St. Pancras and Manchester and the eight-car Western Pullmans that ran between Paddington and Bristol/South Wales.

Western Pullman

I regard Bachmann’s decoration as the best in the market and the clarity of the white BR arrows, Pullman branding and car numbering against the pale grey background is spot on.

A step onwards from previous versions is the remarkable additional light and sound features of the model. Directional lighting of the head and tail lamps on the nose is a given, but we can add in the controllable coach lights and table lamps too. It is noticeable when selecting the direction of travel of the unit that the head and tail lamps fade in and out, as would be the case with incandescent bulbs. The car lighting and table lamps also have a short fade in and a longer fade out when turned on or off. Very nicely done!

Bachmann has deployed two Zimo MX644C direct 21-pin sound decoders with a speaker in each of the power cars. No power cars survived into preservation, unfortunately, so the sound files have been synthesised from scratch, referencing archive footage. Also, a basic array of lights and engine sounds will be produced under analogue power.

Western Pullman

Turn the lighting on and you’ll hear a click of the driver flicking the switch at the leading end of the train. Start the engines in the power cars and one car will start before the other. There are multiple horn sounds to use and different files for different directions determined by which power car is leading the formation. While underway, there are options to increase or decrease the engine revs independent of the speed to assist in giving the impression of a lively start of a heavy train, which gives a pleasing variability to operating the unit with sound. The sounds are truly impressive, certainly making the greatest impact I have ever seen from an out-of-the-box product.

The accessory pack includes head and tail lamp covers, tension-lock couplings to mount if you wish to run multiple sets and the all-important plastic tongue to assist in coupling and uncoupling the sets together.

For more information about this set and the Western Pullman’s history, read our full review in October BRM, out September 12.