DB AG operates a large fleet of locomotive-hauled InterCity and EuroCity saloon, compartment and catering coaches dating from the 1970s. They have already been refurbished twice, and sooner or later they must be replaced.

Initially, DB AG envisaged a replacement fleet of tilting trains, possibly in a joint order with the national railways of Austria and Switzerland. The plans fell through, forcing a review which concluded that another build of loco-hauled stock was needed (RG 5.04 p260). At that time an order for 1000 to 1200 vehicles was envisaged.

Asked about the current position, Dr Rausch confirms that the company ’has tested the market’, and that the coach order is ’now back on the agenda’. However, the plans ’are not concrete enough to specify the volume or timescale of the order’.

DB has now taken delivery of the last of 28 ET411 ICE-T tilting trainsets and 13 ICE-3 sets ordered in 2001-02. These are needed for the new timetable in December, when DB will revise the service pattern to take advantage of the Nürnberg - Ingolstadt high speed line and other network improvements.

In the meantime ’the ICE remains our core product. We are rebuilding the ICE-1 fleet at the moment at a cost of €180m, with 16 sets renovated so far.’ All 59 ICE-1 sets will have undergone a refit to ICE-3 standards by 2008.

A few years ago, DB looked at developing a fourth generation of ICE trains, possibly in conjunction with other European railways, but this project fell by the wayside. ’We will look again when our passengers are no longer satisfied with the current ICE’, says Rausch.

CAPTION: Loco-hauled stock operates many of DB AG’s international services. A train from Hamburg calls at the rebuilt station at Wittenberge