You could even bring your houseplant: the ICE gets window sills in first class. But that is by no means the only change, and there will soon be a lot of new things for passengers in second class as well. With a new design for the next few decades, Deutsche Bahn wants to attract more customers to its ICE trains. It promises more comfort, more privacy – more “living room”.
For example the colours: light oak veneer in all classes, in the bistro the covers are in the dark conductor’s red “burgundy”, the first class is grey, only the second class in shades of blue as before, but with a warmer light. There are higher quality covers with more wool than synthetics; Leather seats in first class are passé. There is a shelf for tablets above the folding table for watching films. And one source of conflict has been defused: each pair of seats gets a second socket.
Not as hard as the seats that the ICE4 was introduced with a few years ago. The train has exchanged after criticism. Something like this shouldn’t happen again. 900 passengers were therefore able to help develop the new seats as test persons. “We listened,” says the railway. At the same time, it promises robust and durable seats – because on average they have to withstand four passengers a day for many years.
The distances between the rows of seats remain the same. However, the new seats can be adjusted in a variety of ways and no longer have any space in the second class – if you fold up the armrest, you get a bench. There is more storage space. A continuous seat shell behind both backrests protects against prying eyes.
“I can build my nest here as a guest,” says long-distance transport manager Michael Peterson. Deutsche Bahn is also working on a new reservation system: families, business travelers and other user groups should be able to be booked in specific, flexibly definable zones.
The first train will leave in December 2023. It is the 17th ICE3 neo train, of which 73 have been ordered. 23 low-floor long-distance trains from the Spanish manufacturer Talgo are also to receive the same design. They will be delivered from the end of 2023 and will operate under the name ICE-L on cross-border and tourist routes. For cost reasons, the existing fleet is not yet being converted, says Peterson. New trains of the still young ICE4 also come in the well-known design.
“We are underpinning our claim to attract even more people to Deutsche Bahn,” says CEO Richard Lutz. Train instead of plane or car – this is how Germany wants to achieve its climate goals in transport. In 2030, twice as many people are expected to travel on long-distance rail services as in 2015. Many new trains will be bought for this purpose. The number of ICE rises to 450 in this decade; By the end of this year there will be 360 - five years ago it was about a hundred less. However, the previous design of most ICEs dates largely from the 1990s.