What are German InterCity trains like?

Deutsche Bahn's (German Railways) InterCity trains might not be as fast or glamorous as their high-speed ICE trains, but these second-rank expresses still reach 200km/h (125mph) with smooth-riding and spacious carriages, and often a restaurant car or at least a bistro.

These trains run on many internal routes in Germany, including Cologne-Hamburg and the Cologne-Mainz route via the scenic Rhine Valley.  They also run on international routes between Amsterdam & Berlin, and on some routes into Luxembourg, Austria & Switzerland.  Double-deck InterCity trains entered service on a couple of Intercity routes in 2016, notably Hanover-Leipzig and Cologne-Dresden.

A DB InterCity train at Hamburg Hbf

A German Intercity train at Hamburg Hbf

2nd clas seats on a DB Intercity train

2nd class seating is usually in open-plan saloons like this, most seats unidirectional, but with some tables for 4.  Sometimes you'll find 2nd class compartment cars with side corridor and ten 6-seat compartments  Larger photo.

1st clas seats on an German IC train

Some first class cars are open-plan saloons (grossraumwagen in German) like this.  Larger photo.

1st class comparment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train   1st class 6-seat compartment on a Berlin to Amsterdam train

Other 1st class cars have seats in traditional 6-seat compartments with side corridor like this.  Sometimes you find both types on one train and have a choice, sometimes a given train only has one type in a given class, either saloon or compartment. Larger photo Larger photo.

Bistro or restaurant car

Most but not all Intercity trains have a bistro car like this selling tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks, snacks and hot dishes served on proper china.  You order at the counter.  A few have a proper restaurant car with waiter table service  Larger photo.

If you are a red wine fan, DB's Spätburgunder red (Pinot Noir) is excellent.  If you're a beer drinker, DB serves excellent Erdinger Weissbier in a distinctive tall Erdinger glass, highly recommended.

You can find DB's menu for the current month in both html & pdf formats at www.bahn.de/service/zug/bordgastronomie, just click the Speisen & Getränke links at the bottom of that page.  Please tell me if that link stops working.

Beef ribs and Spatburgunder red wine on the Amsterdam to Berlin InterCity train   Inside the Amsterdam to Berlin bistro car

Travel tips

Drop down table   Luggage rack   Power socket

Drop down tables at seats not at a fixed table...


Plenty of luggage space - even on a busy train...


European 2-pin power sockets at every seat or pair of seats...

Double-deck IC2 trains

Double-deck IC2 Intercity trains entered service in 2016 on a couple of routes, notably Cologne-Dresden and Hannover-Leipzig.  There are 1st & 2nd class sections both upstairs and downstairs.  It's just 7 steps, wide, easy and with good handrails from the entrance to the upper deck, and several steps down to the lower one.  DB have also taken over some former Westbahn double-deck electric units which also now operate some Intercity services.  However, there is no bistro or restaurant on IC2s.  IC2 trains are 'push-pull' which means they have a locomotive at one end and a driving cab at the other, and can operate in either direction with the locomotive either pulling or pushing.

1st class on an IC2 intercity train   A German IC2 intercity train

1st class on an IC2, upper deck.  Larger photo.


An IC2 at Hannover.

1st class on an IC2 intercity train   A German IC2 intercity train

An IC2 double-deck intercity train.


2nd class on an IC2, upper deck.  Larger photo.

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