ICE Intercity Express International Line Segments

ICE Intercity Express

ICE International Line Segments

Some ICE trains also run on services abroad - sometimes diverting from their original lines.
  • 1. from Frankfurt Hbf via Köln Hbf and Duisburg Hbf to Amsterdam Centraal (Netherlands)
  • 2. from Frankfurt Hbf via Köln Hbf, Aachen Hbf and Liège-Guillemins to Bruxelles-Midi/Brussel-Zuid (Belgium)
  • 3. from Karlsruhe Hbf to Paris Est (France)
  • 4. from Basel SBB to Zürich HB (Switzerland)
  • 5. from Frankfurt Hbf via Nürnberg Hbf, Passau Hbf and Linz Hbf to Wien Westbf (Austria)
  • 6. from Munich to Zurich via Lindau-Reutin (operated by Swiss Federal Railways)
(Also applies to the opposite directions)

Since December 2006, Stuttgart Hbf and Zürich HB have been connected by a bi-hourly service. This service however has been replaced by a daily Intercity service since March 2010.

The ÖBB in Austria also uses two ICE T trainsets (classified as ÖBB Class 4011) between Wien Westbahnhof, Innsbruck Hauptbahnhof and Bregenz (without stops in Germany), although they do not use tilting technology. Since December 2007 ÖBB and DB offer a bi-hourly connection between Wien Westbf and Frankfurt Hbf. On 12 December 2021 a new Railjet schedule was introduced between Frankfurt and Vienna on a different route via Stuttgart, Ulm, Biberach, Friedrichshafen, Lindau, Bregenz and Innsbruck.

Since June 2007 ICE 3M trains had been running between Frankfurt Hbf and Paris Est via Saarbrücken and Kaiserslautern. Together with the TGV-operated service between Paris Est, Stuttgart Hbf and München Hbf, this ICE line was part of the "LGV Est européenne", also called "Paris-Ostfrankreich-Süddeutschland" (or POS) for short, a pan-European high-speed line between France and Germany. This service has been now replaced by a direct TGV service.

From late 2007, ICE TD trains linked Berlin Hbf with Copenhagen and Aarhus via Hamburg Hbf. These services have been operated since December 2017 by Danish IC3 sets as EuroCity services.

A EuroCity-Express service was introduced between Munich and Zurich in December 2020 with the completion of the electrification of the line in Germany, replacing a EuroCity service. Six pairs of trains run every two hours and are operated by Swiss Federal Railways with Alstom ETR 610 (Astoro) sets.

In addition, ICE Trains to London via the Channel Tunnel are on the horizon. Unique safety and security requirements for the tunnel (such as airport-style checks at stations) as well as hold-ups in the production of the Velaro-D trains to be used on the route have delayed these plans.

ICE Intra-Swiss ICE Trains

To avoid empty runs or excess waits, several services exist that operate exclusively inside Switzerland:
  • three services from Basel SBB to Interlaken Ost.
  • two services from Basel SBB to Zürich HB.
  • three service from Interlaken Ost to Basel SBB.
  • one service from Interlaken Ost to Bern.
  • two services from Zürich HB to Basel SBB.
  • one service from Bern to Interlaken Ost.
These trains, despite being officially notated as ICEs, are more comparable to a Swiss InterRegio or RegioExpress train, calling at small stations like Möhlin or Sissach. As common in Switzerland, these trains can be used without paying extra for a supplement.

ICE Travel Times
  Amsterdam Berlin Brussels Cologne Düsseldorf Frankfurt Hamburg Munich Paris Stuttgart Vienna Zürich
Amsterdam Centraal   - - 2h 37min 2h 11min 3h 55min - - - - - -
Berlin Hbf 4 -   - 4h 17min 4h 14min 3h 52min3 1h 42min 3h 58min3 - 5h 04min - -
Brussels Midi/Zuid - -   1h 50min - 3h 05min - - - - - -
Cologne/Köln Hbf 4 2h 37min 4h 17min 1h 50min   21min 1h 01min3 3h 38min3 4h 32min - 2h 13min 8h 52min -
Düsseldorf Hbf 2h 11min 4h 14min - 21min   1h 26min 3h 06min 4h 41min - 2h 28min - -
Frankfurt (Main) Hbf 4 3h 55min 3h 39min3 3h 05min 1h 04min3 1h 26min   3h 20min3 3h 09min 3h 38min 1h 18min3 6h 24min 3h 53min
Hamburg Hbf 4 - 1h 42min - 3h 35min3 3h 06min 3h 20min3   5h 31min - 4h 59min - 7h 35min
München Hbf - 3h 55min3 - 4h 32min 4h 44min 3h 09min 5h 31min   5h 34min 2h 12min 3h 56min 3h 32min5
Paris Gare de l'Est - - - - - 3h 38min - 5h 34min   3h 09min - -
Stuttgart Hbf - 5h 04min - 2h 13min 2h 28min 1h 17min3 4h 59min 2h 12min 3h 09min   - -
Vienna/Wien Hbf - - - 8h 50min - 6h 21min - - - -   -
Zürich HB - 8h 39min - - - 3h 53min 7h 35min 3h 32min5 - - -  
  • 1 German category 1 stations and comparable international destinations of 250.000 passengers per day or more
  • 2 only direct connections shown; travel times as of the DB 2018 timetable
  • 3 ICE Sprinter
  • 4 additional or alternative ICE stops for Berlin at: Berlin Südkreuz, Berlin-Gesundbrunnen, Berlin-Spandau and Berlin Ostbf
  • for Cologne (Köln) at: Köln Messe/Deutz and Köln/Bonn Flughafen Fbf
  • for Frankfurt at: Frankfurt (Main) Flughafen Fbf
  • and Hamburg at: HH-Altona, HH Dammtor and HH-Harburg
  • 5 EuroCity-Express Service
ICE Possible Future Service to London

In January 2010, the European railway network was opened to a liberalisation intended to allow greater competition. Both Air France-KLM and Deutsche Bahn have indicated their desire to take advantage of the new laws to run new services via the Channel Tunnel and the High Speed 1 route that terminates at London St Pancras International.

A test run of an ICE train through the Channel Tunnel took place on 19 October 2010. Passenger-carrying ICE trains, however, will have to meet safety requirements in order to transit the Channel Tunnel. Although the requirement for splittable trains was lifted, concerns remain over the shorter length of ICE trainsets, fire safety, and the ICE's distributed power arrangements. There have been suggestions that French interests have advocated stringent enforcement to delay a competitor on the route. Eurostar also recently chose Siemens Velaro-based rolling stock; there were concerns that Alstom (builders of the passenger trains that already use the Tunnel) and the French Government would take the matter to court. n October 2010, the French transport minister suggested that the European Railway Agency (based in France) should arbitrate. After safety rule changes which might permit the use of Siemens Velaro rolling stock, the French government dismissed their delegate to the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority, and brought in a replacement.

In March 2011, a European Rail Agency report authorized trains with distributed traction for use in the Channel Tunnel. This means that the ICE class 407 trains which DB intends to use for its London services will be able to run through the tunnel. In February 2014, however, Deutsche Bahn announced further difficulties with launching the route, and reports make it seem unlikely that service will start anytime this decade.

In June 2018, Deutsche Bahn announced that it was shelving plans to revive a potential London-Frankfurt ICE connection. The service would take around 5 hours and could rival airlines and become the first competitor for Eurostar.

ICE Ridership
Year million riders ±% p.a.
1991 5.1 -
1992 10.2 +100.00%
1993 14.6 +43.14%
1994 21.3 +45.89%
1995 27.2 +27.70%
2000 41.6 +8.87%
2005 66.8 +9.94%
2010 77.8 +3.10%
2015 80 +0.56%
2018 94 +5.52%
2019 99.2 +5.53%

ICE Overview

Locale: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Switzerland and France. Formerly Denmark.
Dates of Operation: 1985-present
Track Gauge: 1,435mm Standard gauge
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