New Toy! An X73900 from Arnold!

A full review later, but one of my birthday gifts this year was my long awaited X73500 diesel railcar from Arnold!
Quickly converted to DCC, I've been enjoying a few laps around the layout.

As you may see in the photos, its a great looking model!  Some really impressive, very fine printing (particularly in the Alsace livery, which actually features a map as part of the design!).

The one thing that has me scratching my head a bit is the models very low speed. For a sleek looking diesel railcar like this, I expected a little 'pep', but my model crawls like a freight locomotive! To be honest, I've been experiencing some anomalies with my Roco Multimaus Pro/Multizentrale set up and I just changed by track voltage from 19v to 13volts (discussed here) so I'm investigating if either of those are in some way responsible for this. 

Anyway, at some point when I can find time, I'll do a full video review (and will hopefully have this mysterious slow speed issue either fixed or an answer!).


  1. That's a geat-looking model. But with the lighting, it really cries out for a few people inside.

    The speed problem is weird. Track voltage shouldn't affect it, since a DC pack puts out only 3-4 volts at low speed, and 12 or so should be fairly fast. A cold solder joint (high resistance) might explain it, or perhaps its just a defective decoder. I presume you already tried a reset to defaults so it can't be a bad speed table or other CV.

  2. Thanks KenS!

    Well, I've actually noticed that all my trains seem a bit slower since I changed to the Digitrax power, so I'm a little confused as to what could be the problem. My multimeter says I'm getting a good 13+ volts at the rails, I've checked the CV's / speed tables, but nothing seems different.

    I have a general idea of what a 'cold solder' joint is (I've made enough of them! :-)) but how can I check to see if that is restricting current on the track?

  3. One more thing...I'm wondering if this might be more linked to my Roco/Fleischmann Multimaus Pro Multizentrale system?

    The Mulitzentrale (essentially the 'command station') is actually 'powered' by the same power source that goes to the track. The listed power requirements are 16-18 volts AC. Could the input voltage for the Multizentrale be too low and that is then affecting the power delivered to the tracks?

    That's one of the frustrating mysterious of this system that I will eventually post in a write up, but the minimum requirements of this system seem too high for N Scale (despite the fact that this unit is actually packaged with some N Scale sets!).

  4. Wow, that is a nice looking train ! Now you pretty much have the whole french passenger train fleet : the TGV, the (what seems to be) corail coaches and this train, commonly called TER (Train Express Regional ) in France.

    There are other types of TERs in France. There are TER train sets (X76500, I think) and one type that is a hybrid (AGC, still, not sure, there names look to much alike for me to remember them exactly :-)). Each with a design on it to specify the region where it runs.

    I hope you have fun with this wonderful train.

  5. Thanks Mark! Appreciate the comment! Yes, I seem to be doing a pretty good job of developing my "French Collection"

    Also - in answer to my own post above - I swapped my Digitrax power unit (13v) for my previous Marklin/Trix Power Unit (~19-20v) and saw no change in the speed of the X73900. So...its geared really slow, or something else weird?

  6. Hi Jerry. Since new looking toy.

    From what I know, thse railcars have a top speed of 120km/h, so it should be low geared.

    However, using low voltage power supply to DCC system is not that good. Decoders like ESU or MINITRIX are prepared to receive up to 22V. (I know this. I am working in a Model Train Shop in Portugal for seven years). Trains move slower, and some others things will not work properly.

    You should also check if you need to add a booster. Using a low voltage PS, the Amp will also drop, meaning that you will not have enough power on the tracks. ANd your layout is quite big, or N scale. Also check for the power feeds. You should place feerds in order to have enough Power and DCC signal all over your layout - Remeber that the rails offer resistence, and specially the turnouts.


  7. Thanks Luis! Well, I think the power is okay...I have a lot of feeds, and the Digitrax has 5 amps of power, so I think I'm in pretty good shape! I've checked most of the track, and I get a good 13+ volts everywhere. I actually checked on the French forum and - as it turns out - this 'slow running' for this model is typical. Its actually not known to be a very fast rail car in real life! So the 'slowness' is really due to gearing. It may be my perception that some of my other trains are running slower, particulaly now that I tried runnning them with the old 19v power pack and it didn't seem much different!

    Thanks for your suggestion! There is so much you need to learn in this hobby its great when people are willing to share their knowledge!

  8. Hey Jerry....Gonna be spending alot of time at your blog my friend..(researching)

    I have this urge to build an N-scale cityscape...AS FAR AS I KNOW..."YOU ARE THE BEST" when It come's to Uber detailed N-scale.

    Hope I you don't mind..hope I do you proud my friend.


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  10. @ Kriz Not at all! Thank you for the compliment! There are a lot of others who do similar stuff, and I'll be happy to show you theirs as well!

  11. Thanks Jerry, and please..I would definitely appreciate any an all reference I can get my hands on.

    You could use P.H. email to shoot links if you'd like.

    Again huge thanks my friend.

  12. The picture of the model in the tunnel looks really great.

    I don't know about the speed, but I advise you to look at the maximum input voltage that your trains accept since many Japanese trains (at least my E231-500 Yamanote from Kato) don't want higher than around 12V. I assume you know about this, but just a warning.
    Under voltage is probably not the best thing too, but I don't exactly know enough about this.

  13. What a beautiful model! Bravo!

  14. Jerry, the problem and defining characteristic of a cold solder joint is resistance. Checking voltage alone (without a load) probably won't detect a problem. But checking across a suspect joint with a multimeter should show essentially zero resistance.

    A Unijoiner will usually show 2-4 ohms of resistance when new, and I've seen problems with ones showing 20+ ohms, so that's a rough guide to use.

    I remove any unijoiner showing more than 5 ohms (measured by touching probes to the rail a couple of inches away from the joint to avoid moving it) and discard, but sometimes the track itself is dirty/bent, and that won't fix it.