Deutsche Bahn has ordered more than 40 additional ICE 3 trains from train manufacturer Siemens. For passengers, they should primarily bring improvements in comfort.
Deutsche Bahn is expanding its long-distance fleet and has ordered 43 ICE trains from Siemens at a cost of 1.5 billion euros.
"More rail is the key to many of the things we have set out to do as a society: achieve our climate goals, enable modern mobility and keep our country connected everywhere," Bahn CEO Richard Lutz said at the launch of the new ICE 3 Neo train type in Berlin on Tuesday.
First use between NRW and Munich
With this order, the Group will expand its ICE 3 inventory. As early as July 2020, Deutsche Bahn ordered 30 trains of the new type for one billion euros from the Munich-based technology group Siemens. The first of the 73 vehicles now on order are to be on the road from the end of the year – initially between North Rhine-Westphalia and Munich. By 2029, the last ICE 3 Neo will be delivered.
"These trains stand for 32.000 additional seats," emphasized German Transport Minister Volker Wissing, referring to the seating capacities in long-distance traffic. With the new models, Deutsche Bahn is following up on the older ICE 3 series, which runs on the Velaro platform from Siemens and has been in service in Germany for many years. The ICE 3 can reach top speeds of 320 kilometers per hour on its planned routes, while the ICE 4 can reach speeds of up to 265 kilometers per hour.
The new models are expected to bring some improvements for passengers: Frequency-permeable windows are expected to significantly improve cell phone reception. A lift is to make it easier for wheelchair users to get in and out of the airport. The trains will also be equipped with eight bicycle stands and newly designed luggage racks with more storage space.
Need for rail expansion
The trains will be built at the Siemens plant in Krefeld, Germany. Supplies come among other things from Nuremberg and from Austria. According to Siemen boss Roland Busch, the ICE 3 Neo will create thousands of jobs in Germany. "At Siemens, there are about 1,500 colleagues. Additional jobs will come from around 230 suppliers, mostly from Germany."
However, the infrastructure has to be upgraded so that the new train can reach its full speed. Especially on the east-west corridor there is a need for expansion, said Lutz. The Group CEO referred to the planned expansion of the high-speed lines between Hanover and Bielefeld and Hanover and Berlin.
Mobility also in rural areas
Meanwhile, the ICE 4 remains an important part of the long-distance fleet, he stressed. The latest series has been in regular service since 2017. Deutsche Bahn has ordered a total of 137 trains from Siemens, which are to be delivered by 2024.
"Due to our settlement structure, it is already correct not to rely exclusively on high-speed lines and connecting very few cities with millions of inhabitants in Germany," said Lutz. For the mobility of people in more rural regions and the countryside, a top speed of 320 kilometers per hour is not needed everywhere.
According to the rail boss, there are also already considerations regarding an even newer type of train. "This will then be the train that will then be integrated into the fleet at the end of the 20s, beginning of the 30s."