ICE 1 (Germany)

If you will be taking a journey by these ICE1 trains our guide will tell you all you need to know, from boarding, to making the most of the journey experience.

These trains are the first generation of ICE (Inter City Express) trains, and they travel up to 280 km/h on some of the high speed lines in Germany.

However, between certain cities (Hamburg – Hannover and Stuttgart – Munchen etc) they have to travel on conventional lines.

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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

A seat reservation 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.

'Quiet' and 'Phone' zones are available on ICE 1 trains and when booking 1st class tickets, or making a reservation in 1st or 2nd class, you can choose seats within these specific 'zones'.  

When booking reservations for journeys by ICE 1 trains on DB, the 'choose a seat' facility also shows the direction of travel, so you can opt to face forwards.

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

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ICE-1 trains are always at least 12 coaches long, so using all the information on the gleis/platform/track, which will tell you on which zone to board each carriage/coach, is recommended.

Some coaches/carriages only have one door, while others have two.
A number ‘1’ by the doors indicates that the coach is 1st class, while a ‘2’ indicates second class.

These numbers are the only indication of whether a coach is 1st class and vice versa and they can be hard to spot on a fast arriving train.

There is also nothing on the exterior of ICE1 trains to indicate their destination and calling points, so avoid assuming you are boarding the correct train, always confirm the destination on the gleis/platform/track info screens.

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

If you have NOT reserved seats, a less obvious aspect of travelling by ICE 1 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.

Four Things Worth Knowing About Seat Reservations:

(1) Reservations are indicated by electronic 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 Wurzburg and Munich, so if you’re travelling from Hamburg to Wurzburg, you can sit in this seat.

(2) Seat numbers that have no text beside them, are available for all or the remainder of the journey.

(3) You may see 'ggf. freigeben' displayed which indicates that a seat MAY be free, but avoid if possible, as in our experience it usually means that the seat  WON'T be free for the entire journey.

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

If you want to make use of the restaurant car etc, leave something such as a book on your seat to indicate that it is not free.

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These trains may be up to 25 years old, but it generally doesn’t show, in recent years they have been refurbished so that they enable travellers to charge their phones etc.
However the POWER SOCKETS are only available at table seats and not at the airline style seats.

An unusual feature of these trains is that some seats are arranged into compartments with a door to the corridor in both 1st and 2nd class, while others in both classes are in open plan seating saloons.

If you haven't reserved, check whether you happen to be sitting in a 'Quiet Zone', if you are the conductor, or your fellow travellers, will ask you not to make or receive calls during your journey.

Travelling With Bikes:

Only folding bikes can be taken on board these ICE 1 trains as hand luggage.


These trains have Wi-Fi access - but 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.

When available you can access D-Bahn’s Wi-Fi network without having to register and it is free to use.

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These trains have a restaurant car at which you can take a seat and order food to be brought to you, irrespective of whether you will be travelling 1st or 2nd class.
The prices aren't exceptionally expensive, but the food is quality home-style rather than fine-dining.

You can either join the restaurant car for part of the journey, or head straight to it when you board.
Though you won't be allowed to linger in your seat(s) once you have finished your meal.

There is no trolley catering on ICE trains.

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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If you take an ICE train on theee routes, you will almost be certainly travelling on an ICE-1 train:

(1) Berlin - Kassel  - Frankfurt Flughagen/Airport

(2) Hamburg - Bremen - Dortmund - Koln - Koblenz - Mainz - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen (the non-high speed ICE route).

(3) Berlin - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) - Mannheim - Karlsruhe - Offenburg - Freiburg - Basel - (Olten - Bern - Thun - Spiez - Interlaken)

These trains to Interlaken fit into the Swiss national timetable, so if you will be making a journey between Basel and nterlaken, you may find yourself on an ICE-1 train.

The new ICE4 trains are gradually replacing these ICE1 trains on these routes:

(1) (Kiel) - Hamburg - Hannover - Kassel - Frankfurt (Main) - Frankfurt Flughafen/Airport - Mannheim- Stuttgart

(2) Berlin - Leipzig - Frankfurt (Main) - Mannheim - Stuttgart - Ulm - Augsburg - Munchen/Munich

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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