The Dapol Class 156 DMU

Cottingfield has 5 of these based at it’s local depot (3 powered and 2 dummy units). The units are responsible for running a lot of the local semi fast services to Doncaster and beyond.

Ok, so it’s a case of my game, my rules. Realistically you would rarely see a lot of these in Yorkshire. Much more common are 158s and a variety of 150s and 155s. That being said I think there are a very nice model, and also easy to convert to DCC. All of which gets them a big thumbs up from me.

Dapol have released a number of ‘special editions’ of the 156. To date the only one I have on the fleet is the Settle & Carlisle Graphic Edition. However, that being said there is a Ravenglass and Eskdale railway special coming out later in 2019. And that is one model that I will be looking to add that to the fleet asap.


For anyone who wishes to convert their 156 to DCC it really is easy peasy. The conversion to DCC is started by just gently lifting off the roof by popping a finger nail under one end. At the drivers end of the motorised vehicle, which can be identified by the fact it is slightly heavier you will find a DCC socket.

By default this socket has a blanking plate in it. To date I have very successfully run these with standard Bachman DCC chips in, and also had no issues at all with the LAISDCC chips. The LAISDCC chips represent excellent value for money, and can be purchased for sub £10 each if you shop around.


As mentioned in one of my blog posts the entire fleet is also fitted with Dapol light bars to make the carriages illuminated like real life. The lightbars are available either with white light, or a softer yellow tint depending on the era you are modelling.

The white light is intended to replicate modern day LED lighting. Whilst the yellow, be reminiscent of the days of fluorescent tubes installed in carriages.

As with fitting the DCC chips, fitting the lightbars couldn’t be simpler (although the sockets could be a bit less fiddly) and can be done even by the novice modeller.

Just pop the roof off by putting a finger nail under one end and gently lift, the light bar rests in the recess in the roof (no glue is needed, it just pushes in and stays). Once this is done the power clip goes in the white socket on the circuit board, and just gently pushes in. Should you fine that the white clip won’t easily go in, you’ve most likely got it upside down. Being designed with the modeller in mind it only fits one way. The correct orientation is shown in the picture above.

And that’s it – they really are as easy to fit as that.

Just gently push the roof back on until it clicks softly and it’s job done. Your DMU now looks much more like a proper model, and less like a toy train.