Deutsche Bahn/Nederlandse Spoorwegen ICE 3

The Deutsche Bahn Class 403 and Deutsche Bahn/Nederlandse Spoorwegen Class 406 are more commonly known as the InterCity Express (ICE) 3 and InterCity Express 3M, where the M stands for multi-system (i.e. different voltage and frequency used in the overhead catenary of different European countries). These trains were developed by Deutsche Bahn and several train manufactures including Siemens and Bombarider Transportation. Unlike earlier generations of the InterCity Express, the ICE 3 adopted a multiple unit design rather than the traditional push-pull like the TGV. Each 8-car half-set of the ICE 3 is equipped with 16 traction motors distributed throughout the consist.

DB (top) and NS (bottom) ICE 3

The ICE 3 began revenue service in 2000. Although it is certified for a top revenue speed of 330 km/h (205 mph), the track speed in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands, where the trains operate in is only 300 km/h (186 mph). The only line where the ICE 3 is operated at 320 km/h (199 mph) is the LGV Est européenne, the newest French high-speed rail line connecting France with Luxembourg, Germany, and Switzerland. These international ICE 3 trains are operated by both DB and NS from a pool of ICE 3M trains. On 19 October 2010, Deutsche Bahn ran an ICE 3 from Frankfurt to London St. Pancras International via the Channel Tunnel and High Speed 1, in preparation of opening direct services using the ICE 3 from the Netherlands and Germany to the Great Britain.

Here is a video of an ICE 3 putting on a nice little horn show at 300 m/h (186 mph).

The next generation of InterCity Express is currently under development by Siemen based on the Velaro platform, dubbed the Velaro D (D for Deutschland). It is designated as the Class 407 (also known as the new ICE 3) by DB.

Siemens Velaro D or new ICE 3


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