InterCity Express (ICE) is the name for Deutsche Bahn AG's high-speed train connections. As the different train types actually running on the ICE lines were developed specifically for this purpose in the days when DBAG was still Deutsche Bundesbahn, their model names also begin with "ICE".
First delivered in 1989, the ICE 1 is a high-speed electrical train capable of a 280 km/h top speed. The design is comparably conservative, with 7-12 unpowered cars pushed/pulled by two heavily motorized end cars, each of which delivers a maximum sustained power of 4800 kW. Unlike older, but like all modern electric locos, their motors don't run on plain AC pulled from the catenary, but on rotary current from power converters, which makes them much more flexible and powerful.
The other remarkable technical feature of the ICE 1 is the excellent aerodynamic shape and nearly completely flush outer hull, made possible by manufacturing processes from the aerospace industry. All the ICE trains are pressurised, so nobody's ears will hurt when entering or leaving one of the numerous tunnels on Germany's high-speed lines.
ICE 1 trains were the first in Germany to ever feature on-board audio and video. Power cars and cabs equivalent to 60 complete trains were delivered; one was destroyed at Eschede.
An ICE 1 is a very long train (nearly 400 metres). To make the system more flexible for lines with less traffic, the ICE 2 was developed and first delivered 1995. It is much shorter with just 6 passenger cars; there is only one power car at one end, the other has been replaced with an unpowered control car. Automatic couplings allow two ICE 2 trains to be coupled to an ICE-1-sized unit. This enables DB to run trains from one start to two different destinations by separating the two "half-trains" at some point.
Unlike the ICE 1 and 2, the ICE 3 is a powered train. Transformers, converters and motors are distributed among the eight cars such that four of them are powered. With a total power of 8000 kW and its comparably light weight, the ICE 3 has been tested at 330 km/h and the schedule has it do 300 on the Frankfurt-Cologne high speed line that opened in late 2002.
The large oval windows in the end cars allow "lounge" passengers to look over the driver's shoulder. The lounge is separated from the driver's compartment by a glass pane that can be electronically tinted black so passengers are prevented from seeing suicidal people being splattered all over the front window.
The ICE 3 was introduced in 2000; 54 units are currently in service.
Designed to improve running times on lines that aren't specifically built for speed, the ICE-T is a tilting train with a top speed of 230 km/h. There are longer seven-car ICE-Ts and shorter five-care ones. Two seven-car or up to three five-car units can be MUed together. With eight motors, the longer version has a sustained power of 4000 kW, while the shorter ICE-T's six motors deliver only 3000 kW. The maximum tilt angle is 8°.
ICE-Ts were introduced beginning wiith 1998; at least 43 are in service.
To extend the ICE network to non-electrified lines, the ICE-TD was ordered in 1995. It's essentially a snazzy and expensive tilting diesel-electric DMU in the red/white ICE livery, running on 4x 560 kW Cummins diesels and equipped with the very latest Siemens tilting technology. Top speed is 200 km/h.
The ICE-TD was introduced in 2000; 20 units are in service. Due to an accident still in investigation, all ICE-TD connections are currently being operated without tilting.