Germany’s new ICE 4 train is launched

Deutsche Bahn’s new long-distance train, was presented to the public yesterday at Berlin Central Station.

Crowds on the platform as ICE 4 premieres in Berlin Hauptbahnhof
ICE 4 premiere in Berlin Hauptbahnhof

The new ICE 4 train, which according to Dr. Rüdiger Grube, Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Deutsche Bahn, “ushers in a new era” comes with numerous technical innovations and improvements on previous ICE high-speed trains.

“It is the backbone of our future long-distance transport system,” he said “We are planning to expand our range of long-distance rail services by 25 percent by the year 2030, linking up more and more cities and regions.”

The 12-car ICE 4, built by Siemens, can run at a top speed of 250 kilometers per hour and has an overall length of 346 meters. It has a total of 830 seats, 205 of which are in first class and 625 in second class. Its low weight and optimised aerodynamic design reduce energy consumption per seat by 22% compared with a modernized ICE 1.

Improved passenger comfort

Birgit Bohle, Chairwoman of the Management Board of DB Fernverkehr AG said: “The ICE 4 sets new standards for our passengers: ergonomic seats, plenty of space for baggage, an elegant restaurant car and an innovative lighting scheme ensure a high level of comfort for passengers. This is the first ICE on which passengers can take their bicycles. Thanks to a completely revamped family area and parent-and-child compartment, families can now look forward to an even more relaxing journey.”

Other features include a modern passenger information system which will in the future display real-time information about the course of the journey and the connecting trains available at each station. The air-conditioning system has been improved and is designed to cope with temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius.

The ICE 4 has space for eight bicycles and four wheelchairs. Two on-board hoists ensure that wheelchair users can board and leave the train at all stations.

The lighting system is adjusted according to the time of day and creates a pleasant atmosphere inside the cars. Clear signage for the different train areas makes it easier for passengers to find their way around the train, and seat numbers and reservation signs are now integrated in the seat headrests.

The ICE 4 already has state-of-the-art WiFi and telephone technology, which DB will have installed in its entire ICE fleet by the end of the year. This means that passengers in second-class cars now also have access to WiFi.

DB has ordered delivery the first of 130 trains from the total of up to 300 trains covered by the framework agreement signed with Siemens in May 2011. With a volume of roughly €5.3 billion, this is the largest investment in rolling stock in the history of Deutsche Bahn.

The only question is (especially after our brexit decision): when will we see them at St Pancras International?

(All images courtesy of Siemens AG)

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  1. I have been on this new train a few times already and I have to confess, the seats are very, very uncomfortable. Nobody can sleep in the seats because of its “ergonomic” style. This is an issue, I find, for commuters in the morning and people who travel on this train for over 4 hours. The seat only moves about 1.5 inches up for a slight recline.
    Also, the reservation signs being integrated on the sides of the seats actually confuse people. When commuters rush into the train in the morning they rely on being able to see ahead of them for blank reservation spots so they know where to find a seat and not be in the way (for the most part). When having to look down at each seat, it slows the process of boarding the train.
    I found this website because I was looking for comments about the new trains and their terribly designed seats, but I haven’t found much. Either it’s still too new or I’m the only one uncomfortable in it. Although I don’t believe that is the case, because whenever I’d walk past passengers attempting to sleep, they look slightly miserable and struggling to find a comfortable position. I was thinking of making lots of photographic evidence and sending it to DB, but I honestly don’t think it would solve anything.

    Nicole / Reply
    • That’s really interesting, Nicole. Thanks for commenting. I’ve not been on the ICE4 yet so it’s hard to judge the ‘ride’ as it were, on the seats.

      But I totally get what you are saying about the reservation/seat ID display. Travellers expect to see it on the top, and if it’s not there they’ll go into instinctive airliner mode and look up on the wall next! It might be a couple of seconds, but multiplied by lots of people boarding at the same time, I can see how it would slow things up. Still, I guess in time people will get used to it.

      Alastair / Reply (in reply to Nicole)
  2. Why can’t we have trains like this in the U.K., especially from the likes of CrossCountry (who’s parent company is DB!) who operate some of the longest distance services with an EasyJet style service: 4/5 coach trains, packed airline-style seats with little legroom, few tables, no buffet, no restaurant car and no compartments for families/businesspeople.

    Steve / Reply
    • Good question. Especially, as you say, when they are owned by DB. Maybe they are saving them for HS2 😉

      Alastair / Reply (in reply to Steve)

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