Germany: First DB ICE 3neo Enters Service Ahead of Schedule

Deutsche Bahn (DB) has put its latest ICE generation train into service ahead of schedule.

The ICE 3neo’s first trip takes place today, 5 December, from Frankfurt/Main to Cologne.

Knorr-Bremse ICE trains

When DB’s timetable change takes effect on 11 December, passengers will be able to use the train in regular service between Dortmund, Cologne and Frankfurt/Main, and all the way to Munich via the new Wendlingen–Ulm high-speed route.

The train’s inaugural journey is taking place a week earlier than originally planned, and just two and a half years after the original order in July 2020 (additional units were ordered this February).

This is thanks to a record delivery by manufacturer Siemens Mobility, which has had to deal with pandemic-related restrictions and disrupted supply chains worldwide.

The speedy commissioning was also supported by DB training approximately 5,000 employees to handle on-board service, maintenance and driving in record time.

According to Dr Michael Peterson, DB Board Member for Long Distance Passenger Transport, ICE procurement procedures generally take twice as long.

Michael Peter, CEO Siemens Mobility, said:

“Together with Deutsche Bahn, we’re accelerating the transport transition in record time: Siemens Mobility has never delivered a new ICE train so fast.

“This success was primarily possible thanks to the outstanding cooperation with DB, but also because the ICE 3neo is based on our proven Velaro platform.

“Even though we built and delivered the train in record time, we were able to incorporate many innovations in the train’s interior that will further enhance passenger comfort.”

The new ICE high-speed train will transport DB passengers at speeds up to 300 kilometres an hour.

New features include reservation displays that show all reserved and free seats at a glance and specially developed windowpanes that ensure stable mobile reception.

Lighting varies according to the time of day and every seat has power sockets and pad holders. Another new development is the train’s robust, easy-to-use lift installed at a door reserved exclusively for passengers in wheelchairs.

The arrival of the first ICE 3neo is part of DB’s investment in the renewal and expansion of its long-distance fleet. By 2029, DB will have invested 10 billion EUR (10.56bn USD) into new trains, including a total of 73 ICE 3neos, which provide an additional 32,000 seats and bring its fleet up to a total of 450 trains.

This will help DB meet expected passenger growth and bring it a step closer to its goal of doubling the number of rail passengers over the next eight years.

DB will gradually expand the scope of the model’s operation with the delivery of further trains. By 2024, it plans to have ICE 3neos operating on international routes to Belgium and the Netherlands.

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