GERMANY: After nearly 12 months of trials in commercial service on the Hamburg – München route, Deutsche Bahn has put the first of its fleet of ICE4 trainsets into regular operation.

From the timetable change on December 10 five Class 412 trainsets were introduced on services from Hamburg to München and Stuttgart, routes which DB says are used by more than 10 000 passengers a day. A sixth trainset will enter service in February and nine will be in use from June 2018.

The ICE4 fleet is being delivered by Siemens which is to supply 119 sets by 2023 in ‘the biggest order for trains ever received in the nearly 170-year history of Siemens’, according to CEO of Siemens Mobility Division Sabrina Soussan. The contract is part of a framework deal for up to 300 trains signed in 2011.

DB says that by 2023 its ICE4 fleet will be handling more than 40% of long-distance traffic, a sector in which it hopes to achieve 25% growth by 2030.

Just 19 of the sets will be delivered as seven-car formations, with the rest formed as 12-car sets. Siemens says that the ICE4 is designed to be assembled in up to 24 configurations thanks to each powered car having a full set of traction components. A 12-car set has six power cars and offers 830 seats, 205 of which are in first class; a 22-seat dining section and a bistro-bar area are included and there is space for eight bicycles. Intermediate cars are 27·9 m long and end cars measure 28·6 m, giving a train length of 346 m; the axleload is 18 tonnes.

Maximum speed is 250 km/h and DB says that the 12-car sets will be able to cope with 4% gradients, making them suitable for the Köln – Frankfurt high speed line. Fitted with ETCS Level 2, Siemens says that they ‘will be able to operate on the new high speed rail route between Berlin and München as of December 2018’.

Birgit Bohle, Chair of the management board of DB Fernverkehr, said that ‘the ICE4 is the new flagship for our long-distance routes and sets standards for our passengers: plenty of space for luggage, an elegant restaurant and an innovative lighting concept ensure a high level of comfort for passengers.’