GERMAN ENGINEERS are preparing to test the five-car ICE-S train (RG 8.97 p500) at up to 440 km/h on a section of the Hannover - Berlin high speed line before it opens next year. The trials are intended to validate the design concepts of the ICE3 (RG 6.97 p373), 50 of which are on order for delivery from 1999. While the ICE3 design is being perfected and industry is gearing up to deliver it, DB is turning its thoughts to a technical strategy for the ICE3’s successors.

For some time the intention was to build a component testbed known as ICE21. This project has now been abandoned, and another three or four years of research will elapse before any attempt is made to build hardware. Germany’s high speed train architect Dipl-Ing Heinz Kurz revealed last month that DB is looking at a radical wide-body concept for what is already known as ICE4. Kurz suggests that this will have to be a high capacity train to cope with heavily increased demand on routes such as K