The new models follow Bachmann Branchline's Class 47 diesel locomotives, which were first released in 2021, and Class 37s released in 2022.
With the Class 47s Bachmann introduced a motorised fan system and they were first to have specially treated glazing that replicates the tinting of the prototype's windscreens.
The same features are included in the top-of-the-range SOUND FITTED DELUXE models, new Class models, as well as automatic DCC uncoupling in the deluxe format models, something not seen before on a British-outline model.
The Auto-Release Coupling System provides hands-free uncoupling with the press of a single function button and is compatible with all standard tension lock couplings.
The couplings are mounted via standard NEM coupling pockets and are fitted with a miniature plug to allow easy removal to facilitate the fitting of accessory parts.
As well as the Auto-Release Couplings, SOUND FITTED DELUXE models also feature a motorised roof fan that is synchronised as part of the sound project to allow the fan to operate at different speeds, depending on the engine's status and locomotive's speed settings.
As in the prototype locomotives. the tinted glazing is only applied to the driver's and second man's windscreens only, and not to the smaller central windscreen.
All models will be available in standard or SOUND FITTED format, with the SOUND FITTED and SOUND FITTED DELUXE models being able to operate on both DCC and analogue control straight out of the box. Under analogue control, a range of authentic sound effects can be experienced when power is applied, as well as the motorised roof fan on SOUND FITTED DELUXE models.
The new models were announced ahead of Bachmann's Spring 2024 British Railway Announcements, and were unveiled in a special Hornby Magazine production together with a selection of Engineering Prototypes and running samples showcased by Graeme Watkins, Bachmann's Design Engineer responsible for the project.
Full details of the new models and their pricing and availability will be revealed in the Spring 2024 British Railway Announcements on Wednesday, 7th February.
David Haarhaus, Managing Director of Bachmann Europe Plc said: “The Class 31 has been a rather obvious omission from the Bachmann Branchline range for many years now. Ever since the launch of the Graham Farish Class 31s in N scale, the company has been inundated with requests to scale those models up to OO. Knowing that we could make a model befitting the Branchline name, and one that suits Bachmann's beliefs of supporting independent retailers and the industry as a whole, meant this was an easy project to give the green light to.
“Every Bachmann product is a team effort, drawing on the skills and expertise of many colleagues both in the UK and abroad to create our award-winning products but at the same time, every project of this magnitude requires a figurehead who really knows their subject to lead the development process.
“For the Class 31, we were very lucky with the timing of Graeme's arrival at Bachmann, as he was able to take over a project that was already at an advance stage and make his mark to ensure we reached this point with a fantastic, high-fidelity and extremely accurate model to show for all of our efforts.”
“I am very proud that time and time again, Bachmann has been at the forefront of introducing new features, new innovations and new standards to the British market, and we see this again with the new Class 31 and its Auto-Release couplings.
“In general, uncoupling has been one of the most unrealistic aspects of model railway operation so to make this process hands-free and automated, I think is going to be a real game changer for our consumers and one that I am sure our customers will enjoy demonstrating in their stores, alongside our new Kinesis DCC system which will provide a powerful tool to model railway operators.”