THIS MONTH sees the first catering cars enter service in German Railway’s ICE2 trainsets. The trains were commissioned last September, but catering was restricted to a trolley service. Changes to the specification of the catering cars had delayed construction, and only now are complete ICE2 formations being used.

In contrast to the 4·3m high domed diners of the ICE1, the ICE2 cars have a conventional roof in line with the 3·84m height of the rest of the train. While the dome helped to make the ICE1 catering cars a focus of interest, the design made them very heavy. A fully victualled car weighs 62 tonnes, and DB decided not to repeat the experience. Laden weight of the ICE2 catering car is 10 tonnes less at 52 tonnes.

The waiter-service dining area is very similar to that on ICE1, but has 23 instead of 24 seats and no wardrobe by the entrance vestibule.

The bistro area is much smaller. Instead of 16 seats, there is space for 16 passengers to stand and consume drinks or snacks. The idea of the bistro being a place to meet other passengers has been abandoned, but inclusion of a bank of video monitors in one wall may prove to be a draw for young people. A telephone niche and a mini-computer that will print out timetable information are provided.

The smaller bistro frees space for a conductor’s compartment and a toilet that is accessible to wheelchair passengers; it also has baby-changing facilities.

Cooling technology

Changes to the food cooling include use of equipment that costs less to run and also qualifies for an environmentally friendly label. Catering operator Mitropa first tested zeolite cooling on a loco-hauled restaurant car, and the trials led to a decision to fit the equipment to the whole ICE2 catering car fleet. Conventional cooling is retained for the car’s deep freeze.

The cool food containers have double walls that are partly filled with water. When linked to a zeolite tank, the water evaporates and is absorbed by the zeolite. The resulting cooling produces an ice shield which stays intact for several hours. The process is repeated by forcing the water out of the zeolite by heating it to a temperature of 150 to 200°C. Despite this, operating costs are lower than for conventional cooling, as the heat can be generated from power taken directly from the 15 kV 16 2??3 Hz supply.

Zeolite cooling is used in a closed system for the fixed refrigerators and the drinks stores, and also in a semi-open system in the supply trolleys. Once on board, these are connected with special links to the train’s cooling equipment. As soon as the ice has formed, they can be disconnected, but the ice will remain for several hours. o

CAPTION: ICE2 catering car retains a waiter-service dining area, but the size of the bistro is much reduced. A video wall of TV screens provides entertainment