ICE Trains (an overview)

There are now 6 types of ICE train in service

ICE 1      l         ICE 2

      l         ICE T

ICE Velaro D
      l         ICE 4 

Summary of differences in the on board experiences:

On the journey guides we strive to make the distinction between specific types of ICE train being use on each route.

We do this because the on-board experience varies depending on which type of ICE train you will be travelling by.

ICE trains are generally fabulous, but being on an ICE1 train feels different to an ICE-T train etc.

What all ICE trains have in common:

All ICE trains have:

(i) A bistro bar serving drinks, snacks and hot/cold light meals
(ii) An at seat service in 1st class (but note that the food/drink is not complimentary)
(iii) 'Quiet' and 'Phone' zones within the train.

Some seats on ICE trains are located in these specific 'zones', but most aren't.

Travellers are not supposed to use their phones in 'Quiet' coaches/zones, the conductor or your fellow passengers will ask you not to do so.

While if you know that it's likely that you will be making multiple calls during your journey, DB is suggesting that you book reservations in the 'Phone' coach/zone.

If you have no preference re; the amount of noise your fellow passengers are likely to generate, when using their phones, you can select 'any' when booking a seat reservation*, or 1st class ticket.

If you haven't reserved you'll be less likely to be aware of these 'zones' when boarding a train and looking for seats, you may unwittingly find a seat available in a 'mobile' or 'quiet' coach, which wouldn't have been your preference.

So look for the symbols on the outside and the inside of the trains - we had made multiple journeys by ICE trains, without being aware of the existence of these zones.

The differences between the types of ICE train:

The key differences between the different types of ICE trains can be summarised as:

Restaurant cars = ICE 1 and ICE 4 trains
Compartment seats = not on ICE 2 or ICE 4 trains
End of train lounges = ICE 3 and ICE T trains
Family compartments = not on ICE 2 trains
Bike racks = only on ICE 4 trains (non folding bikes cannot be taken on the other types of ICE trains).

Train per route summary:

This is not a comprehensive list, it's a summary of the type of ICE train USUALLY used on each of these  routes - in both directions

Note that multiple types of train share some routes.


(i) Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Wurzburg - Nurnberg - Munchen

(ii) Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) - Frankfurt Airport - Mannheim - Stuttgart

(iii) Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) - Mannheim - Kalrsruhe - Basel - Zurich

(iv) Berlin - Leipzig - Erfurt - Frankfurt (Main) - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Munchen

(v) Berlin - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) - Mannheim - Kalrsruhe - Basel - Bern - Interlaken

(vi) Berlin - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) - Frankfurt Airport


(i) Berlin - Hannover - Hamm - Dortmund - Essen - Duisburg - Dusseldorf

(ii) Berlin - Hannover - Hamm - Wupppertal - Koln/Cologne hbf

(iii) Hamburg/Bremen - Hannover - Kassel - Wurzburg - Nurnberg - Munchen


(i) Essen - Duisburg - Dusseldorf - Koln/Cologne (Messe-Deutz) - Frankfurt Airport - Frankfurt (Main) - Wurzburg - Nurnberg - Munchen

(ii) Dortmund - Wuppertal - Koln/Cologne (Messe-Deutz)  - Frankfurt Airport - Frankfurt (Main) - Wurzburg - Nurnberg - Munchen

(ii) Dortmund - Wuppertal - Koln/Cologne hbf - Frankfurt Airport - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Munchen

(ii) Essen - Duisburg - Dusseldorf - - Wuppertal - Koln/Cologne hbf - Frankfurt Airport - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Munchen

(iii) Koln/Cologne hbf - Frankfurt Airport - Mannheim -  Kalrsruhe - Basel

(iv) Amsterdam - Utrecht - Arnhem - Oberhausen - Duisburg - Dusseldorf - Koln/Cologne hbf - Frankfurt Airport - Frankfurt (Main)

(v) Bruxelles - Liege - Aachen - Koln/Cologne hbf - Frankfurt Airport - Frankfurt (Main)

(vi) Berlin  - Erfurt - Frankfurt (Main)


(i) Hamburg - Berlin - Leipzig - Erfurt - Nurnberg - Munchen

(ii) Hamburg/Bremen - Hannover - Kassel - Wurzburg - Nurnberg - Munchen

(iii) Koln/Cologne - Koblenz - Frankfurt Airport - Frankfurt (Main) - Wurzburg - Nurnberg - Regensburg - Linz - Wien/Vienna

(iv) Dresden - Leipzig - Erfurt - Frankfurt (Main) - Frankfurt Airport - Weisbaden

ICE Velaro D

(i) Frankfurt (Main) - Mannheim - Kaiserlautern - Saarbrucken - Paris

(i) Frankfurt (Main) - Mannheim - Karlsruhe - Strasbourg - Paris


(i) Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Wurzburg - Nurnberg - Munchen

(ii) Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) - Frankfurt Airport - Mannheim - Stuttgart

(iii) Hamburg - Berlin - Leipzig - Nurmberg - Munchen (from Dec 9th)


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.

They can be added when making a booking or purchased separately either online or at the station - at a ticket desk or at 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.

Also worth knowing about seat reservations: 

In addition to ensuring that you can remain in one seat for your entire journey, there are three less obvious benefits of making a reservation, whether you will be travelling 1st or 2nd class.

(1) You can select from options for the location of your seat, which in addition to window or aisle seats, can include compartment seats and seats at tables.

(2) You can choose in which 'zone' on the train that you wish to travel by - 'Quiet', 'Mobile' or 'Standard'.

(3) You can usually choose specific seats on a seating plan, though what you won't be able to do is ensure your seat is facing forwards*, though you can choose a seat by, or away from the exits to the seating area.

*The most likely reason for this is that ICE trains have to reverse direction when making many station calls in Germany, so even if you could opt to choose a forward facing seat, it's highly possible that you wouldn't actually be facing forward for the entire journey.

Bistro (Hot Food)
Bar (Cold Food)
Double Deck
High Speed
First Class
Second Class

Rail passes and reservations

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