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InterCity (commonly abbreviated IC on timetables and tickets) is the classification applied to certain long-distance passenger train services in Europe. Such trains (in contrast to regional, local, or commuter trains) generally call at major stations only.
The term originated in the United Kingdom, with the introduction in 1950 of a daily train of that name running between the cities of London and Birmingham. This usage can claim to be the origin of all later usages world-wide.
In 1966 British Rail introduced the brand InterCity for all of its express train routes, and in 1986 the term was adopted by the InterCity sector of British Rail. Following the privatisation of the railways in Great Britain the term is no longer in official use there, although many people still refer to fast long-distance services as InterCity trains. The brand still exists though, and according to DfT is owned by them.
In West Germany, the Deutsche Bundesbahn first used the name (then written Intercity) in 1968, denoting special first-class services on the F-Zug train network. Many of the Class VT 11.5 diesel multiple units formerly used on the TEE network were converted for early Intercity services.
In Switzerland, the InterCity brand replaced SwissExpress in the 1982 schedule.
An international variant of the InterCity are the EuroCity (EC) trains which were introduced in May 1987. EuroCity trains consist of high-standard, Air conditioned coaches and are usually subject to on-board border controls. EuroCity trains are run by a variety of operators, for example EuroCity trains running in Germany can be made up by rolling stock of either the SBB (Switzerland), ÖBB (Austria) and the SNCF (France), but also less commonly by the Czech ČD and the Hungarian MÁV.
- 1 InterCity by country
- 2 See also
- 3 References
InterCity by country
The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) have operated IC services since 1991. However, contrary to most other countries, these are often little more than regional rail, as most long-distance, high-standard trains in Austria are likely to be EuroCity (EC) services, even when not leaving the Austrian borders (named ÖBB-EuroCity until 2011). Modernised stock of Eurofima coaches is used under the brand name ÖBB-InterCity (OIC) mainly on the Austrian Western and Southern Railways from Vienna to Salzburg and Villach.
The ÖBB also deployed electric multiple unit trains, from 2006 also three ICE T (Class 411, named ÖBB 4011) trainsets in cooperation with the Deutsche Bahn, currently running from Vienna to Frankfurt via Linz and Passau. Since 2008, high-speed rail service is provided by Railjet (RJ) trains.
- Western Railway
- Southern Railway
- Vienna–Bruck an der Mur–Klagenfurt–Villach (every 2 hours with several trains running as EC)
- Vienna–Bruck an der Mur–Graz (every 2 hours with several trains running as EC, 4 trains heading to Maribor, Ljubljana and Zagreb)
- Vienna–Wiener Neustadt–Mattersburg–Sopron–Csorna
- Graz–Klagenfurt (service is operating as Intercitybus till the Koralm Railway is opened)
- North railway
- Enns Valley Railway
- Graz–Selzthal–Bischofshofen–Salzburg (4 trains per day).
- Graz–Leoben–Bischofshofen–Schwarzach/St. Veit–Innsbruck (1 train per day, additional EC trains to Bregenz and as EN to Zurich).
- Klagenfurt–(Beograd/Zagreb–)Villach–Bischofshofen–Salzburg (trains operating every 2 hours, services running to Munich and Dortmund)
- Salzburg-Tyrol Railway and Lower Inn Valley Railway
- Arlberg railway
The InterCity service from Vienna to Salzburg is going to be expanded for an hourly service to Landeck via Innsbruck by December 2008. Also, the service from Vienna to Graz is going to operate hourly by December 2008.
InterCity stops in Austria:
- Western railway: Wien Westbahnhof, Wien Hütteldorf, St. Pölten Hbf, Amstetten, St. Valentin, Linz Hbf, Wels Hbf, Attnag-Puchheim, Vöcklabruck, Salzburg HBF
- Southern railway: Wien Südbahnhof, Wien Meidling, Wiener Neustadt Hbf, Mürzzuschlag, Bruck an der Mur, Frohnleiten, Graz Hbf, Wildon, Leibniz, Spielfeld-Straß
- Line from Bruck an der Mur to Villach: Bruck an der Mur, Leoben Hbf, Knittelfeld, Zeltweg, Judenburg, Unzmarkt, Friesach in Kärnten, Treibach-Althofen, St.Veit an der Glan, Klagenfurt Hbf, Krumpendorf am Wörthersee, Pörtschach am Wörthersee, Velden am Wörthersee, Villach Hbf
- Line from Villach to Salzburg: Villach Hbf, Spittal-Millstättersee, Mallnitz-Obervellach, Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein, Dorfgastein, Schwarzach-St.Veit, St. Johann im Pongau, Bischofshofen, Werfen, Golling-Abtenau, Hallein, Salzburg Süd, Salzburg Hbf
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InterCity trains in Croatia mainly serve domestic routes from Zagreb (capital) to Split, and from Zagreb to Osijek. The coaches used are similar to the ones used in Germany by DB.
In the Czech Republic, the IC or Express trains service the following routes:
- Cheb–Prague (served by Pendolino tilting trainsets),
Most of the IC are served by trains of state-owned operator České dráhy with speeds up to 160 km/h but they have been converted into category Express in 2012 timetable. The other is served by trains of private operator RegioJet with speed up to 140 km/h. No surcharge is applied to IC trains but RegioJet runs reservation compulsory trains. Third private passenger operator LEO Express is going to introduce express InterCity train service between Prague and Ostrava in December 2012.
The state-owned operator České dráhy also serves line Prague–Ostrava (with some connections extended to Bohumín) with Pendolino trainsets under designation "SuperCity", which conforms to IC standard. A compulsory reservation in price of Czech koruna 200 or discounted for customer card holders is applied on these trains.
The Intercity network of the Danish State Railways consists of IC trains and their faster version, Lyntog (Lightning Train), which is identical but with less stops. Each train type operates hourly between the eastern terminus at Copenhagen and westwards to Odense–Århus–Ålborg, and less frequently to alternative destinations in Jutland. These are run by IC3 diesel materiel since most of the network is not electrified. There are also electrical IC trains run by IR4s in an hourly schedule from Copenhagen westwards to Odense and alternately Esbjerg/Sønderborg. This means during most of the day there are three trains an hour between Copenhagen and Odense. Quite unusual in the world, some trains will consist of both electrically and diesel-powered units coupled together. Being the only option for long-distance and some short-distance travel, there is no surcharge for IC and Lyntog. They have a maximum speed of 180 km/h. Additionally, there a few IR trains during Friday and Sunday peak hours between Copenhagen and Århus. These are locomotive-run and have bilevel cars. The IC3 trains are planned to be replaced by new IC4 trains, originally in 2001. They first ran with passengers in 2008, but haven't nearly replaced the IC3 yet.
In Finland, VR has operated InterCity trains between major Finnish cities since August 1988. The first routes were Helsinki–Vaasa and Helsinki–Imatra, which later expanded to all major cities and include for instance Helsinki–Tampere–Oulu–Rovaniemi, Helsinki–Turku, Helsinki–Iisalmi and Helsinki–Joensuu. InterCity trains have become the standard as the Finnish long distance rail travel mainstay, and their predecessors, blue-carriaged express trains, are being withdrawn off the schedules. The train tickets include an additional surcharge compared to ordinary express trains: 17 to 27% depending of the journey length.
VR operates both ordinary InterCity trains (IC) and entirely double-decker trains (IC²). An ordinary IC train usually consists of 3 to 4 double-decker cars and 3 to 5 ordinary IC cars. In addition the train has a restaurant car. IC² trains consist only of double-decker cars and have no separate restaurant car with a sales trolley moving about in the train. However, due to high demand, VR ordered double-decker restaurant cars from Transtech in early 2011. The first carriages should be operational in 2013. IC cars have separately ventilated smoking cabins instead of smokers' compartments; IC² trains are smoke-free.
The trains run at a maximum speed of 140–160 km/h for single-decker trains and up to 200 kilometres per hour (120 mph) for double-deckers, which was VR's aim in 1988. Only the Pendolino and Allegro trains are faster than InterCity trains in Finland.
In Germany, the InterCity network was launched in 1971 to accompany and eventually replace the Trans Europ Express trains. At first, IC services were first-class only, often using TEE stock and the then-new Class 103 locomotives. Trains ran bi-hourly. DB paid a royalty fee to BR for many years for the use of the brand name.
In 1978, it was decided to expand the IC network to services with both first and second class, and so the new scheme, called IC '79 was launched in 1979 with the motto "Jede Stunde, jede Klasse" ("every hour, every class") to emphasize its new structure. Large numbers of air-conditioned open coach cars, the Bpmz 291, were built for InterCity services, which at first were using the TEE colour scheme. In 1985, with many of the TEE trains gone and the introduction of the InterRegio, the network was expanded again, now covering virtually any major city of then-West Germany. It faced further changes after the German reunification and the introduction of the InterCityExpress in the early 1990s.
Today, after the abolition of the InterRegio in 2002, most long distance connections in Germany are either IC or ICE trains; they most commonly offer at least bi-hourly service. Maximum speed for an IC is 200 km/h.
Intercity train services in Hungary:
- Budapest Keleti pu– Miskolc–Tiszai–Debrecen–Budapest Nyugati pu (Circle-IC, every 2 hours)
- Budapest Keleti pu–Miskolc–Tiszai (every hour)
- Budapest Nyugati pu–Nyíregyháza (every 2 hours)
- Budapest Nyugati pu–Szeged (every hour)
- Budapest Keleti pu–Győr–Sopron and Szombathely (every 4 hours)
- Budapest Déli pu–Pécs (every 2–3 hours)
- Budapest Déli pu–Kaposvár–Nagykanizsa (Somogy IC)
- Budapest Keleti pu–Békéscsaba–Timişoara /Târgu Mureş/Simeria/Braşov/Bucureşti-Nord( (every 2h))
- Budapest Déli pu.-Szekszárd-Baja (Gemenc IC)
- Budapest Keleti pu-Békéscsaba-Lőkösháza (Every 2–4 hours)
The Hungarian intercity trains are operated by MAV-START, the Hungarian railway company.
In the Republic of Ireland, Iarnrod Éireann introduced the brand name InterCity in 1987, replacing the previous name of Mainline. Initially applied to services operated by British Rail Mark 3 trains, it was later extended to include all services not part of the Dublin Suburban Rail network. Today the brand encompasses services between Dublin and Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Sligo, Westport, Rosslare, Ballina, and Ennis, as well as some regional services. A new InterCity logo was introduced in 2006, though as of July 2007 the vast majority of rolling stock still bears the original script logo and orange-tan livery. By the time Ireland completes its replacement of the old Mk2 and Mk3 stock it will have the most modern intercity fleet in the world.
Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnrod Éireann both formerly operated trains on the Dublin–Belfast line under the InterCity brand, however this was replaced with the revived Enterprise brand name upon the introduction of the De Dietrich Ferroviaire rolling stock in 1997. This, coupled with the subsequent withdrawal of most coaching stock bearing the logo and the rebrand to the Translink name, means that the InterCity brand has largely disappeared from Northern Ireland Railways.
In Italy InterCity trains constitute a capillary net that links the main cities of the country. The fundamental lines run from North to South, skirting Thyrrenian and Adriatic seas, linking cities like Milan, Turin, Genoa, Venice, Ferrara and Bologna with Florence, Rome, Naples, Bari, Reggio Calabria and Palermo, and from West to East in the North, connecting Turin, Milan, Venice, Trieste and Po river plain provinces. The fleet consists in first and second class wagons, generally divided in six seats compartments. The new wagons, called InterCity Plus, have renovated interiors and a richer equipment, like sockets for PC or mobile phones.
Trains denoted as IC services are commonplace in the Netherlands, but due to the small size of the country they call at stations rather often, and are more similar to regional services of other countries than to a true intercity link. Rolling stock most commonly seen is the Koploper (called Intercitymaterieel or Plan Z) multiple unit, locomotive-hauled intercity coaches (called Intercityrijtuigen or ICR) as well as the IRM double decker trains, though Nederlandse Spoorwegen also acquired a number of ex-DB express coaches for locomotive-hauled services.
See also types of train service in the Nederlands.
In Poland IC trains operated by PKP Intercity S.A. service the following routes:
- Warsaw–Kraków with speed up to 160 km/h.
- Warsaw–Katowice–Bielsko-Biała with speed up to 160 km/h
- Warsaw–Katowice–Gliwice with speed up to 160 km/h
- Warsaw–Poznań–Wrocław with speed up to 160 km/h
- Warsaw–Katowice–Opole–Wrocław with speed up to 160 km/h
- Warsaw–Poznań–Szczecin with speed up to 160 km/h
- Warsaw–Gdańsk–Gdynia with speed up to 120 km/h
- Warsaw–Dęblin–Lublin (until 2002) with speed up to 140 km/h
- Gdynia–Warsaw–Kraków with speed up to 160 km/h
- Gdynia–Warsaw–Gliwice with speed up to 160 km/h
- Szczecin–Berlin–Amsterdam Zuid WTC–Schiphol (jointly operated by PKP Intercity and Deutsche Bahn)
It should be noted that, apart from a single railway line (line nr 4, aka Centralna Magistrala Kolejowa–Central Railway Route), average speeds are much lower.
In Portugal InterCidades trains operated by state-owned CP run in the following routes:
- Lisbon–Coimbra–Porto–Guimarães (where they complement the [Alfa Pendular] high-speed trains on a one-per-hour schedule), corail coaches at 200 km/h
- Lisbon–Coimbra–Guarda, three trains a day with corail coaches at 200 km/h
- Lisbon–Entroncamento–Castelo Branco–Covilhã, three trains a day with refurbished coaches at 160 km/h
- Lisbon–Faro, three (with a forth train on Friday (Lisbon - Faro), Sunday (Faro - Lisbon) becoming daily both ways in the Summer) at 160 km/h complemented by two daily Alfa Pendular runs each way at 200 km/h
- Lisbon-Évora four trains (three in weekends) with 5600's engines at 200 km/h. The connecting Beja shuttle is also branded IC despite sttopping at all stations.
Currently InterCity lines link the capital Bucharest to Braşov, Arad, Oradea, Cluj-Napoca, Targu Mureş, Galați (all once daily), Suceava, Iași (twice daily), Piatra Neamţ (once daily), Bacău (4x daily), Ploiești (6x daily), Craiova (twice daily) and Timişoara (once daily).
Maximum speed is 140 km/h on Bucharest-Campina, 120 km/h on all other lines.
In the Slovak Republic, InterCity trains run between the capital Bratislava and Košice (some IC trains continued from Bratislava to Vienna). In the past, the names of some of these trains used to be sold for commercial use (IC Šariš named by beer producer, IC Zelmer named by an electronic devices producer, IC Slovenka named by a magazine, IC Mora, IC Gorenje, both named after kitchen appliances producers). In 2012, no IC train had commercial name. All IC trains are named by natural monuments (IC Tatran, IC Kriváň, IC Gerlach, IC Rysy, IC Chopok, IC Ďumbier). All IC trains are subject to compulsory reservation to make comfort as high as possible. The seat reservation is included in the ticket price. The price varies, depending on the day of travel, and the time of reservation (the sooner you buy a ticket, the lower the price).
In the past, there were also 3 other InterCity services: IC 400/407 Donau (Danube) between Bratislava and Vienna, IC 532/533 Rákoczi from Košice to Budapest and IC 536/537 Hornád from Košice to Pécs. On this train passengers could travel without a reservation or surcharge, since it's impossible to use them for domestic transport in Slovakia.
Maximum speed between Bratislava and Nové Mesto nad Váhom has been increased in the recent years and is now 160 km/h. On the rest of the route, maximum speed varies from 80 to 140 km/h. There is a large reconstruction under way between Nové Mesto nad Váhom and Žilina. After the reconstruction is finished, it will be possible to increase maximum speed of this part of the route to 160 km/h.
Intercity trains in Slovenia mainly serve domestic routes, like running from Ljubljana (capital) to Celje, Ptuj, and Maribor. Comfort in Slovenian Intercity trains is not as good as in other countries. Coaches serving main routes are usually old. Some IC trains do not offer first class and restaurant carriage. The type of cars is basically the same as the cars of ÖBB, however, the cars are slightly older with no sign of renovation. Additionally, there are also available older Pendolino electric multiple tilting units ETR 310(SŽ series 310) labeled as ICS lines connecting Slovenian largest cities, Ljubljana and Maribor and the mediterranean region of Slovenia, Koper.
During 1980s, InterCity denoted trains of the highest standard in Sweden, serving as a fast and comfortable connection between major Swedish cities. Trains used to be set up of the most modern cars, always including a restaurant car. During 1990s the Swedish State Railways introduced the new X 2000 units which replaced the InterCity trains in this role. Since then, the InterCity trains serve an auxiliary role, calling at smaller stations and providing a cheaper alternative for the costly X 2000. They are set up of modernised cars pulled by Rc3 or Rc6 locomotives with a maximum speed of 160 km/h. They serve the following lines:
- Stockholm - Arlanda - Uppsala - Sala - Avesta - Hedemora - Säter - Borlänge - Falun. Some trains continue from Borlänge via Gagnef - Leksand - Rättvik towards Mora;
- Stockholm - Arlanda - Uppsala - Gävle - Ljusdal - Ånge - Bräcke - Östersund - Åre - Duved;
- Stockholm - Arlanda - Uppsala - Gävle - Söderhamn - Hudiksvall - Sundsvall;
- Stockholm - Södertälje - Hallsberg - Karlstad - Charlottenberg - Kongsvinger - Oslo;
- Stockholm - Södertälje - Hallsberg - Skövde - Herrljunga - Gothenburg;
- Stockholm - Södertälje - Norrköping - Linköping - Nässjö - Hässleholm - Lund - Malmö;
- Gothenburg - Varberg - Falkenberg - Halmstad - Hässleholm - Lund - Malmö;
- Luleå - Boden - Gällivare - Kiruna - Narvik.
Apart from the SJ, there are other train operators in Sweden who also run trains of a similar type. Only SJ, however, uses the name "InterCity".
Swiss InterCity services started in 1982, replacing the Swiss Express on the line Geneva-St. Gallen. There is no surcharge for InterCity services in Switzerland and the rolling stock consists of three types of formations:
- Standard type IV carriages (German: EW IV, Einheitswagen IV) and driving trailers of type IC, the same as on InterRegio services. A normal train composition consists of a Re 460 locomotive, 8 to 12 carriages and a driving trailer. Seating capacity is up to 900, depending on the train composition. Most carriages have a small compartment for storing bicycles and/or skis at one end of the carriage; this end is marked by a bicycle drawn on the outside of the closest doors. The type IV carriages are the least wheelchair friendly as they require climbing the stairs to enter. Overall, 533 carriages and driving trailers are in operation.
- Double-decker IC 2000 carriages for lines with heavy commuter load. These trains are also powered by a Re 460 locomotive, can be composed of up to 9 carriages with one driving trailer and offer close to 1,000 seats. At present, about 320 carriages are in use.
- A tilting train category called ICN for lines with many curves. These trains are electric multiple units and hence require no locomotive. One such multiple unit consists of 7 carriages and has a seating capacity of 480 passengers: 125 in first class, 332 in second class, and 23 in the dining car (which is part of second class). The fleet of ICN trains comprise 44 units.
If needed, two ICN trains can be combined to double the passenger capacity. In addition, several type IV carriages can be attached to an IC 2000 train set on the other side of the locomotive, especially if a group reservation requires extra carriages.
All carriages are air conditioned. Each train formation has first and second class carriages and, in most cases, a restaurant/bistro carriage. The availability of power sockets is constantly improved, sometimes even in second class. The maximal speed of all train types is 200 km/h, except for about half of type IV carriages that have not yet been upgraded and have a maximum speed of 160 km/h.
InterCity trains serve most of Swiss cities and provide direct connections from Zurich and Geneva airports. The InterCity routes within Switzerland according to 2009-2010 schedule include:
- Lugano - Bellinzona - Arth-Goldau - Zug - Zürich HB;
- Interlaken Ost - Interlaken West - ( Därligen - Leissigen - Faulensee ) - Spiez - Thun - ( Münsingen ) - Bern - Olten - ( Liestal ) - Basel SBB;
- Brig - Visp - ( Frutigen ) - Spiez - Thun - Bern - ( Olten ) - Zürich HB - Zürich Flughafen - Winterthur - Frauenfeld - Weinfelden - ( Sulgen ) - Amriswil - Romanshorn;
- Brig - Visp - Spiez - Thun - Bern - Olten - Liestal - Basel SBB;
- Chur - Landquart - Sargans - ( Ziegelbrücke ) - Zürich HB - Basel SBB;
- Genève-Aéroport - Genève - ( Nyon - Morges ) - Lausanne - Fribourg - Bern - ( Olten - Aarau - Lenzburg ) - Zürich HB - Zürich Flughafen - Winterthur - Wil - Uzwil - Flawil - Gossau SG - St. Gallen;
as well as the following routes served by tilting ICNs:
- Bern - Zürich HB;
- Lausanne - ( Renens VD ) - Yverdon-les-Bains - Neuchâtel - Biel/Bienne - ( Grenchen Süd ) - Solothurn - ( Oensingen ) - Olten - Aarau - ( Lenzburg ) - Zürich HB - ( Zürich Oerlikon ) - Zürich Flughafen - Winterthur - Wil - ( Uzwil - Flawil ) - Gossau SG - St. Gallen;
- Lausanne - Yverdon-les-Bains - Neuchâtel - Biel/Bienne - Grenchen Nord - Moutier - Delémont - Laufen - Basel SBB;
- Genève-Aéroport - Genève - Nyon - Morges - Yverdon-les-Bains - Neuchâtel - Biel/Bienne - ( Grenchen Süd ) - Solothurn - Olten - Aarau - Zürich HB - Zürich Flughafen - Winterthur - Wil - ( Uzwil - Flawil ) - Gossau SG - St. Gallen;
- Genève-Aéroport - Genève - Nyon - Morges - Yverdon-les-Bains - Neuchâtel - Biel/Bienne - Grenchen Nord - Moutier - Delémont - Laufen - Basel SBB;
- Chur - Landquart - Sargans - Zürich HB - Basel SBB;
- Chiasso - Mendrisio - Lugano - Bellinzona - ( Flüelen - ) Arth-Goldau - Zug - Zürich HB;
- Chiasso - ( Mendrisio ) - Lugano - Bellinzona - Arth-Goldau - Luzern - Olten - Basel SBB.
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Intercity+ (min. 90 km/h) train services in Ukraine:
- Kyiv – Kharkiv
- Kyiv – Donetsk
- Kyiv – Lviv
- Kyiv – Dnipropetrovsk
- Kyiv – Zaporizhia
- Dnipropetrovsk – Simferopol
- Kharkiv – Simferopol
- Donetsk – Simferopol
These services are currently operated by Hyundai Rotem HRCS2 and Škoda UZ class 675 trains. Intercity+ trains are operated by Ukrainian fastspeed railway company
Intercity (70 km/h – 90 km/h) train services in Ukraine:
Intercity trains are operated by Ukrzaliznytsya railway company
The term "Inter-City" was first used by state railway company British Rail in 1966, to brand all its longer-distance, higher-speed services (the hyphen was dropped shortly afterwards, changing the name to "InterCity"). The brand was closely associated with a new design of carriage, the Mk2 which revolutionised levels of comfort on the system. The system was hugely successful and became one of the world's few profitable public railway services.
Today, Britain's railways having been privatised, InterCity trains in the UK are operated by many different train companies including Greater Anglia, CrossCountry, First Great Western, Virgin Trains, East Coast, East Midlands Trains, First Hull Trains and Grand Central. Most of these companies operate their services from one of the many London termini, with CrossCountry being the exception, running from Cornwall to Scotland. If travelling via London it is often necessary to change stations: a journey from Norwich to Cardiff would require a transfer from London Liverpool Street to London Paddington station via the London Underground.
Currently, InterCity trains in United Kingdom use Intercity 125 (Class 43 power car + 8/9 Mark 3 coaches, also named as HST), Intercity 225 (Class 91 + 9 Mark 4 coaches), Class 90 + 8/9 Mark 3 coaches + Driving van trailer, Voyager family classes 220, 221 & 222 (4-7 coach DEMUs), class 180 (5 coach DMUs) and class 390 (9 carriage EMUs) on the Intercity lines.
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