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European Railroad Discussion > SNCF x73900 Inside and Out

Date: 03/09/20 20:03
SNCF x73900 Inside and Out
Author: F7sForever

When it comes to French trains, the glamour list is a mile long. From elegant if workhorse steam locomotives to sleek, modern TGVs, French railroading has a lot of standout pieces of rail equipment. The SNCF’s TER (Transport Express Regionale) x73500 and x73900 class DMUs probably won’t make many short lists, though. Built by Alstom between 2001 and 2004, the 20 DMUs in SNCF’s class x73900 are a cross-border version of the very similar x73500, which serves low volume non-electrified lines in rural France. That larger class is over 300 cars strong. In addition, Deutsche Bahn operates 40 similar cars as their class VT641.

The existence of the x73500 and x73900 classes is somewhat antithetical to everything that we outsiders think we know abut French rail: contrary to popular opinion, there are rail lines in France that aren’t electrified, AND have low volume of passengers. In the case of the x73900s, all of the fleet operates in cross-border service to Germany, and is based out of Strasbourg. Some time back, SNCF decided to add some decoration to the somewhat bland blue and silver livery that these cars carried. In Alsace, the livery includes a multicolored swath of stripes, with a map of the Alsace region’s rail lines on one end of the car.

I am not going to lie: the x73900 was one of the first diesel cars that I saw in France, and during a very impressionable time in Strasbourg where I found myself in love with Alsace, in love with French railroading, and ready to pack it all up and move east across the Atlantic. So my affection for them is probably a little bit artificially inflated. I’ve also worked with a few RDCs in my life, as well as on a number of DMU projects. So I can relate to what this little thing is trying to do.

The x73900s are found on routes between Metz in France and Saarbrücken in Germany, as well as south to Strasbourg and across the border again to Offenburg, among other places. They have a pair of 300hp Diesel engines coupled to hydrodrives powering one axle on each truck. They seat 81 passengers, and have a low center floor section between trucks, with a raised seating area above each truck, and a cab on each end. They have scharfenburg couplers and can run in groups of up to three at a time. They have a top speed of 140kmph.

Photo 1: One of my favorite photos of the class: 73902 and 73907 heading into Gare de Strasbourg to load passengers for a trip north to Saarbrucken. Sept. 2017.

Photo 2: 73902 and 73907 moving from the maintenance center to the station. Sept. 2017.

Photo 3: looking at the interior of 73902 as it lays over at Strasbourg before leaving back to Offenburg.

More to come.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/20 20:08 by F7sForever.

Date: 03/09/20 20:04
Re: SNCF x73900 Inside and Out
Author: F7sForever

Photo 4: 73903 and 73902 laying over at Strasbourg on the East station tracks. These were the only two that I saw on my return to Strasbourg in Nov. 2019.

Photo 5: 73902 and 73903, the other end of the same pair as above.

Photo 6:  73902 and 73907 loading for a departure to Saarbrucken. 

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/20 20:09 by F7sForever.

Date: 03/09/20 20:06
Re: SNCF x73900 Inside and Out
Author: F7sForever

Photo 7: Similar to the function of the SNCF’s x73900 class, Südwestdeutsche Verkehrs-Aktiengesellschaft’s Ortenau S-Bahn operates cross border service out of Strasbourg to a network of stations around Offenburg, which is right across the Rhine River, which forms the French-German border around Strasbourg. The vehicles are Stadler Regio Shuttle RS-1 DMUs.

Photo 8: the next step up from the x73500 and x73900 DMUs in SNCF’s fleet are these three and four car x76500 class DMUs built by Bombardier. SNCF 76659 is one of many that are assigned to Strasbourg and surrounding areas. The model is available in diesel, electric, and dual mode.

Photo 9: My first look at the class: 73916 and 76901 basking in the setting sun as I stepped off of a OUIGO TGV in Strasbourg, still riding the heady wave of my first high speed train trip. Sept. 2017.

With France’s TGV fleet hosting most all of the glamour, little trains like the x73900 class earn their keep in comparative anonymity. Still, I find them charming enough that I was kind of happy to see them again when I made it back there last year.

Thanks for reading!


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/20 20:09 by F7sForever.

Date: 03/09/20 22:21
Re: SNCF x73900 Inside and Out
Author: gaspeamtrak

That was very interesting Jody !
The modern version of a "Budd" / RDC !!!
You are not sure if you want to cry or smile when you first see them !? 
Love is in the eye of the beholder... :):):)
Thank you for sharing this with us !!! :):):)

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