Trains in Europe


  • ICE: Intercity Express, high speed, long distance
  • EC: EuroCity, cross-border trains
  • IC: InterCity, express train with limited stops, domestic (with a few exceptions).
    • IC and EC are locomotive hauled. Deutsche Bahn plans to replace most Intercity and Eurocity rolling stock with ICE 4 by 2025. EuroCity services are part of the Intercity network - many EC services represented a couple of train pairs on an IC route extended across the border.
  • Regional Express (RE) / Regionalbahn (RB) / SE: regional services. (Regionalzug (R) in Austria and Regio (R) in Switzerland).
  • S-Bahn: "Schnell" ("fast"), surburban.
  • U-Bahn: Subway


  • ICE 1: two power heads and up to 14 intermediate cars.
  • ICE 2: one power head and one driving van trailer
  • ICE T: "T" standing for Triebzug (multiple unit). Long distrance serivces running on conventional lines. 7 cars (Class 411) or 5 cars (Class 415).
  • ICE TD: diesel-powered.
  • ICE 3: EMU. In contrast to the ICE 1 and ICE 2 designs, the new units were planned not with power cars, but with peripheral underfloor motors, to reduce axle load (important for tilting trains) and increase tractive effort. ICE 3 trains are the only ones able to run on the Köln-Frankfurt high-speed line with its 4.0% incline at the allowed maximum speed of 300 km/h.
    • Class 403: domestic
    • Class 406: (ICE 3M), the M standing for Mehrsystem (multi-system), providing a single journey over multiple electrification systems without interruption.
    • Class 407: Velaro D, only 17 bulit.
    • Class 408: a.k.a ICE 3 neo. Under construction. Max speed 320 km/h.
  • ICE 4 (Class 412): max speed 250 km/h or 265 km/h.
  • ICE L: a long-distance train which is being built by the Spanish company Talgo. L standing for low-floor entry. They will replace old Intercity (IC) trains. Locomotive hauled. Single-axle, typical for the Talgo design.


  • Deutsche Bahn's long distance services are operated over numbered routes.
  • The name S-Bahn derives from Schnellbahn (lit. rapid train), Stadtbahn (lit. city train) or Stadtschnellbahn (lit. rapid city train).
  • equipped for a line speed of 300 km/h, only ICE3 trains can travel at this speed.
    • Cologne – Frankfurt (1999)
    • Nuremberg - Munich (2006)
    • Erfurt – Leipzig/Halle (2015)
    • Nuremberg – Erfurt (2017)


  • essentially the same vehicle design
    • Class 425: 4 carriages
    • Class 426: 2 carriages


  • Eurail Pass / Europass: for non-European residents
  • Interrail Pass: available to European residents.


  • Most of the tracks are constructed to the broad "Iberian gauge" of 1,668 mm, same as that used in Portugal.
  • High-speed (AVE) network uses 1,435 mm.