Germany’s ICE Train Turns 30

Deutsche Bahn (DB) is celebrating 30 years of ICE traffic in Germany with the christening of the first XXL ICE.

This is the latest addition to the ICE fleet, and the longest high-speed train in the country.

Steinmeier baptises ICE train 'Bundesrepublik Deutschland', celebrating 30 years of ICE trains
German President Steinmeier baptises ICE train ‘Bundesrepublik Deutschland’, celebrating 30 years of ICE trains

At a Berlin Central Station ceremony, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier christened the XXL ICE the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany), saying he was celebrating nothing less than a landmark in Germany.

To highlight the fact it’s the longest train in the ICE fleet, water was used from Germany’s longest rivers – the Danube, Rhine and Elbe.

Regular service of ICE trains began back in June 1991 and they have since carried 1.5bn passengers.

Dr Richard Lutz, DB CEO, said:

“The ICE is a real figurehead for Germany. It offers our passengers speed, comfort and climate protection at the same time. It has made us proud at Deutsche Bahn for 30 years. The ICE is the symbol of the mobility transition. This train has redefined rail travel in Germany.”

The ICE Federal Republic of Germany is a 13-part XXL ICE 4. The 374-meter-long train offers 918 seats, more than any ICE before, and reaches a top speed of 265 kilometres an hour.

The ICE fleet currently consists of 330 trains, is expected to grow to 421 vehicles by 2026, and around 600 trains are planned in the long term.

Together with the federal government, DB will invest 170bn euros (207bn USD) in expanding the rail infrastructure for German high-speed traffic by 2030.

Central projects such as Stuttgart 21 or the expansion of the Berlin – Dresden connection will significantly reduce travel times on main routes from 2025.

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