ICE T (Germany)

If you will be taking a journey by these ICE T trains our guide will tell you all you need to know, from boarding, to making the most of the journey experience.

At first glance ICE T trains look similar to ICE 3 trains, but these ICE T trains are rather different - they're the most quirky trains in the ICE family.


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The ‘T’ is in the name as these trains were designed to tilt on corners (like Pendolinos), to make them faster on curved tracks, BUT the tilt mechanism was switched OFF some years ago.

However, the ICE Ts also have the ability to travel at high speed - typically reaching 280 k/mh.

Most of the services on Germany’s newest high speed line between Leipzig and Erfurt are ICE T trains.

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Reservations are now included when booking 1st class journeys by ICE trains.

However, in 2nd class (and for rail pass users in 1st class and 2nd class) they're available - but optional.
1st class = €5.30
2nd class = €4
They can be added when booking 2nd class tickets, or purchased separately - if you already have a ticket OR a rail pass  - either online or at the station at a Reisezentrum ticket desk, or from a DB ticket machine.

If you have not reserved the availability of seats is NOT guaranteed - if need be walk through the train to find available seats.

'Quiet' and 'Phone (standard)' zones are available on ICE T trains, so when booking 1st class tickets, or making a reservation in 1st or 2nd class, you can choose seats within these 'zones'. 

Something that 1st class rail pass users in particular to be aware of is that ICE-T trains have a lower number of 1st class seats than other ICE trains.
Meaning that those optional rail pass reservations are particularly recommended if you will be boarding this type of ICE train and using a 1st class Eurail or InterRail pass.

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If you have a reservation before arriving on the gleis/platform/track, check your ticket for the number of the coach in which your reserved seat is located.

Then use the info screens on the gleis/platform, to check in which zone on the gleis you should wait, for easy boarding..

A number ‘1’ by the doors indicates that the coach is 1st class, while a ‘2’ indicates second class.

But what these ICE-T trains don't have is an info screen on the outside of the train by the doors, showing the destination and train number.

The doors won’t open automatically so you may have to press the green button.

If you haven't reserved seats, a less obvious aspect of travelling by ICE T trains is that they have 'Quiet' and 'Phone' zones'

So look out for the signs on the exterior and interior of the trains indicating whether a particular coach has these zones.

You can then either target or avoid seats in these areas.

Finding A Seat:

(1) Reservations are indicated by red text next to seat numbers, that show the stations, between which the seat has been reserved.

So if you board a Hamburg– Munchen train at Hamburg Hbf and see Hamburg – Munchen by a seat number, then this seat will be occupied for the entire journey.

However other seats may only be reserved between Berlin and Munchen, so if you’re travelling from Hamburg to Berlin you can sit in this seat.

(2) Seat numbers that have no text or are displaying 'bahn comfort' are available for all or the remainder of the journey.

(3) In our experience, if you see 'ggf. freigeben' this means that the seat is only possibly available -  so avoid these seats.

(4) An unusual feature is that the red text turns itself off 15 mins after the train has departed, from a station from which the seat is reserved.

The logic being is that that if the holder of the reservation doesn’t claim the seat, then passengers without reservations who board at the next station will know that the seat is available.

So if you do have a reservation and are travelling alone, take care to not be absent from your seat when the train calls at stations.

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The differences between ICE T trains and ICE 3 trains are more noticeable in 1st class.

In 1st Class:

In 1st class on these ICE-T trains some seats are open plan style, but others are grouped into rather odd semi-compartments.

These ‘compartments’ don’t have doors, or floor to ceiling walls, so lack privacy and the ability to be shut off from the rest of the activity on the train.
They also make the train feel rather cramped.

The lounges:

Some 1st class and 2nd class seats are located in lounges at the end of the trains - which face down the track because they are located behind the driving cab.

This view down the track can be particularly thrilling on high speed lines, but only if the driver doesn’t mist the glass between the passenger lounge and the driving cab

However, the drivers seem to leave the glass misted more often than not.


You can access DB Bahn’s Wi-Fi network without having to register and it is free to use - though the data usage can be more restricted in 2nd class.

On international services you may to have log in again to access the Wi-Fi when the train crosses a border.


Only folding bikes can be taken on board ICE trains.

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There is no trolley catering on ICE trains.

If you are travelling 1st or 2nd class you can opt to purchase food and drink from the bar/bistro car.

Travelling 1st class:

An attendant will also pass through 1st class taking orders for food and drink to be delivered to your seat – try to avoid confusing them with the conductor who will check the tickets etc.

Be aware that you will be charged for all items that you order at your seat.

If you’re travelling 1st class and are particularly thirsty/hungry, don’t wait for the catering attendant to make their round, go to the bar counter and order in person.

Worth knowing:

On ICE trains glasses and china plates and cups are used and not paper and plastic.

Very classy and probably more eco-friendly too, but take care!

It is not unknown for items to fly off tables when brakes are applied or when trains take corners at high speed.

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There is nothing on the DB Bahn online booking site, or on any timetable, to show whether the train you will be taking will be an ICE T train, but these trains are mainly used on these routes

(i) Wien/Vienna – Linz – Nurnberg – Frankfurt (Main) – Koblenz – Koln/Cologne (all departures)

(ii) Wien/Vienna - Linz - Nurnberg - Erfurt - Berlin

(iii) (Hamburg) – Berlin – Leipzig/Halle – Nurnberg – Munchen/Munich (some departures)

(iv) Dresden – Leipzig – Erfurt – Frankfurt (Main) - (Weisbaden) (all departures)

ICE T trains are also used on some of the departures between Hamburg/Bremen and Munchen via Hannover and Wurzbug - particularly when separate trains from/to Bremen and Hamburg are joined/separated at Hannover.

An overview of train travel in Germany

How to buy tickets for German train journeys

Travelling ON the trains in Germany

Travelling on European daytime trains

Travelling on European overnight trains

International train routes to/from Germany

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Bistro (Hot Food)
Bar (Cold Food)
Double Deck
High Speed
First Class
1 (1.klasse)
Second Class
2 (2.klasse)

Rail passes and reservations

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