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The Deutche Bahn ICE 3 by Trix

Review by Neil Wood


Trix model 22205

Many railway modellers prefer steam engines to modern diesel and electrics.† There are several reasons for this like character and nostalgia; however for younger people the trains that catch the eye are the modern express trains.† Nothing defines the advances in locomotive technology better than the high speed trains now operating in Europe and Japan .† One of the latest of these is the ICE3 which made by Siemens in Germany .†

The ICE3 is the third incarnation of ICE with substantial modification from the previous two versions.† A higher top speed of 330km/h and the ability to climb steeper grades required greater power than the previous versions.† The power was to be distributed across the train rather than concentrated in one or two power units. The ICE3 will be an eight-car `half train' with 16 powered axles which can operate in double traction like the ICE2.

Testing of first ICE3 vehicles began in autumn 1998. The first ICE3 trains were delivered to the DB Reise &Touristik AG and NS Reizigers BV towards the end of 1999 and entered regular service in May 2000.

The ICE1 and ICE2, were intended for domestic service, however the ICE3 comes in versions for one and four current systems and has a slightly narrower profile for international operation throughout continental Europe . The international ICE3 will be delivered with the signalling systems of the Netherlands , Germany and Switzerland , but can be easily extended to run in other countries ( Belgium , France , Italy ) as well.

37 single-system trains (class 403) and 13 four-system trains (class 406) are in service or still being delivered for the DB AG. 4 four-system trains (class 406, NS number 4651 to 4654) have been delivered to the NS.

The styling was created by Alexander Neumeister, who is responsible for the visual characteristics of the whole ICE family.† The carriages are shorter and narrower than those of the ICE 1 and ICE 2. The front is more streamlined, and instead of the two rectangular front windows, it now has one large oval window. The passengers in the first and last car can look out through the cab window.

ICE-3 units on display.

Series 1
e.g. Bistro concept
Series 2
Single system Multi system Single system
Year 2000-2001 2000-2001 from 2004
Number of cars 8 8 8
Power system [kV/Hz] AC†15/16.7 AC†25/50
DC 3
DC 1.5
at AC
at DC



Maximum speed: [kph]
at AC
at DC



Track gauge [mm] 1435 1435 1435
Number of seats 441 431 458
Number built




The Trix ICE3 model 22205††† †Released; Jan 2005††† †Price: Ä599

Extra coach models 23397, 23398 and 23399 Released: August 2005 Price: Ä72.50 each

Model Specification: Length: 1422mm; Type: Class 403; Livery: Deutche Bahn; Period: Current; Features: Front and rear directional lighting, Interior lighting in all coaches, NEM couplings, DCC sound decoder installed with operating sound effects, includes diode plug to enable conventional operation, mechanically operating pantographs (do not work electrically); Finish: Pristine; Motor: 5 pole motor located in dining car.

The Trix model 22205 contains;

  • 1 Type 403.1 End car

  • 1 Type 403.1 Transformer car

  • 1 Type 403.3 Dining car

  • 1 Type 403.6 Transformer car

  • 1 Type 403.5 End car

The Trix extra Coach models

  • 23397 is a Type 403.7 Power converter car;

  • 23398 is a Type 403.8 Intermediate car;

  • 23399 is a Type 403.2 Power converter car, 1st class

This is a beautiful model.† It encapsulates the sleek lines and parallels the technology of the original.† Unlike most other models this requires no modification.† It already has a decoder with sound and lighting.† The sound effects circuit has sounds of doors opening and closing, station announcements in German and English, engine running sounds and horn.† The acceleration and braking delay can be minimised digitally.

The starting delay allows a realistic pulling away speed. The engine powers up and the loco slowly starts to accelerate, the model then takes off. †It hugs the track very well. †It maintains high speeds even round narrow bends. It has metal inserts to give it a low centre of gravity.† I run it around the inner tighter loop on my layout and it has never derailed even at high speed.† Unlike most Trix models this is made of plastic rather than metal.† The coaches are connected by a 6 pin connecter.† The power pick ups are in the end cars so the power has to be transmitted down to the decoder and motor.† For this reason no other coaches other than the Trix coaches are compatible with this product.† Three extra coaches are available to add to the basic five car consist.† The manual says that seven cars can be run in total. †Given that I am currently running it with seven coaches and is running extremely fast at half power, it could easily take eight.†

The only negative factor I have found is that, due to the type of electrical connection between the cars and the amount of cars this has to go through, the track has to be well connected and have a smooth transition between gradients.† If the transition is too sharp it can cause a break in the electrical connections between the cars.† When the current is broken the decoder restarts from the initial settings, which means a delay before it powers off again.† Once your track is sorted out it runs smoothly and efficiently just like the real thing.

I have to admit a bias towards express trains.† For much of my life I travelled on the GNER 225 from Kings Cross to Scotland .† I loved the journeys and when I returned to railway modelling, one of the models I most wanted was the GNER 225.† When I did get it I was so disappointed.† While Hornby were upgrading and detailing many of their locomotives this one had been forgotten.††† I had bought four additional coaches for the train and it could barely pull them on the level as the motor was so weak.† Why do I mention this?† Because this Trix model is everything the Hornby was not.†† It races along at high speed with seven coaches instead of struggling. It has highly detailed moving pantographs rather than a sad simulation.

Trix pantograph

†Hornby pantograph

†All coaches are fully lit.† The front and tail lights change over with direction and it has several realistic sound effects.† This model led to me dropping British railway modelling completely for a couple of years.† The contrast is stark between the two models.† You could say that it is not fair to compare the two models as they are so differently priced.† Well Hornby list their GNER pack at ₤99 with three coaches at ₤20 which comes to ₤160 then add a sound decoder for ₤100 and youíre at ₤260, add on lighting for the front and rear at ₤18 each plus coach lighting costs and youíre getting close in terms of overall cost.† But look at all the work you have to do and thatís assuming you are capable of undertaking it.† Look at difference in terms of detail between the two even with all the other modifications.† You would have spent the same money to modify the GNER as to buy the ICE 3 and it would still be lacking in details.† Nothing could underline more the difference between a budget model and a high quality one. Some modellers may not care for all these extras.† If not, then this clearly is not the train for you. †Mehano do a budget version of ICE3 for ₤135 which has none of the features of the Trix loco. †This locomotive is for the modeller who wants the latest, most modern, technologically advanced available.† This model really is ready to run.† There are no further modifications necessary.† If only Hornby could have made a GNER 225 like this.

Detail from front of Trix ICE 3                             Detail from front of Hornby HST

This model is a big favourite with my son and nephews.† Itís the one they ask to see run first.† It sleek modern lines make it very popular.† While many love the older steam trains, this is the future. †This is what gets younger people interested in railways. This is state of the art technology in rail; both in real life and in model. †I like most trains, both older and modern, but I have to say this one is one of my favourites.† I love its speed, looks, and its high powered sounds as it races along.† So is it worth Ä599?† Yes it definitely is although you could buy it for less if you shop around. †I would certainly recommend it.† Youíll love it.

Programming table of the most important CVs

CV Designation Area Factory setting
2 Loco address 1-127 3
3 Starting voltage 1-75 4
4 Braking time 0-64 8
5 Top speed 0-64 63
6 Middle speed 0-64 25
8 Basic setting 8 -
17+18 Expanded loco address 128-9999 0
29 Configuration register 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,32,33,34,35,36,37,38,39 4
49 Expanded configuration 2,3,18,19 19
63 Noise volume 0-64 64

Neil Wood - May 2006

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