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"ICE V" redirects here. For the form of water ice, see Ice V. For internal combustion engine vehicle, see ICEV.
InterCityExperimental (ICE V)
410001MKF 2TK 1152.jpg
The power cars without the coaches on the Karlsfeld-Olching line
Type and origin
Power type electric
UIC class Bo'Bo'+2'2'+2'2'+2'2'+Bo'Bo'
Loco weight 296 t (291 long tons; 326 short tons) (powerheads 77.7 t (76.5 long tons; 85.6 short tons) each)
Performance figures
Maximum speed 406.9 km/h (252.8 mph)
Power output 8,400 kW (11,300 hp) (2x4,200 kW (5,600 hp))
Delivered 31 July 1985
Last run Summer 1998
InterCityExperimental ICE V
410001MKF Zug 1152.jpg
410001MKF train
Interiors in second class
Manufacturer Siemens, Krauss-Maffei, Krupp, Thyssen-Henschel, AEG, Brown Boveri Company
Fleet numbers 1
Capacity 60 (first class), 27 (second class)
Operator(s) Deutsche Bundesbahn
Train length ca. 114 m (374 ft)
Width 3,070 mm (121 in) (power car)
2,930 mm (115 in) (coaches)
Height 3,820 mm (150 in) (power car)
3,650 mm (144 in) (coaches)
Wheel diameter 920 mm (36 in) (new)
870 mm (34 in) (used)
Wheelbase 1,150 mm (45 in)

The Intercity Experimental, later renamed ICE V, was an experimental train developed by the Deutsche Bundesbahn for research into high-speed rail in Germany. It is the predecessor of all Intercity-Express trains of the Deutsche Bahn.


The trainset was built with two Class 410 power cars built jointly by Krupp, Krauss-Maffei and Thyssen-Henschel, and up to three Class 810 intermediate coaches, of which two were built by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm and one by DUEWAG and Linke-Hofmann-Busch. When one of the coaches was used for measurement purposes, the other two were used for demonstration of a modern high-speed train. The powercars weighed 78 tons each and had a maximum output of 3,640 kW. They were mostly based on the DB Class 120 locomotives developed earlier, but had been equipped with an aerodynamic outer hull and a corporate identity livery.[1] In the summer of 1986, one of the coaches (810 001) was refurbished from a measurement coach to a demonstration coach.[2]

After a derailment on 3 September 1986, one of the power cars was not available for service. For a period of 10 months, one of the coaches was temporarily refit with a driver's cab in order to avoid further stalling of project schedules of the experimental project.[3]



The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 1968 commissioned a study to study the technical and economic feasibility of high-speed rail tranport in Germany. The results, published in 1971, showed a necessity for higher speeds in the German railways.[4][5] In 1972, the ministry took the lead in developing new railway technologies. During the same time, a working group for "Rail/Wheel" was initiated in the Bundesbahn Central Offices in Minden. Initially, they concentrated on research regarding the Maglev project Transrapid that eventually led to the Emsland test facility.[3]

The Bundesbahn was then more skeptical about the Maglev technology, and forced, from their side, more research into high-speed rail using conventional rail-wheel technologies. A 28 km (17 mi) test section of rail on the Hamm–Minden railway was (from 1973) already available for testing, and a specially modified Class 103 locomotive was able to reach speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour (160 mph). During the test runs, there was a lot of knowledge gained about the effects of high-speed rail. These insights also impacted the service of the Intercity trains that were to reach up to 200 km/h (120 mph). The National Transport Plan (Bundesverkehrswegeplan) of 1973 laid the important foundations for the construction or upgrade of up to 2,000 km (1,200 mi) railway lines for them to be rated for speeds of 300 km/h (190 mph).[3]

In the beginning of 1974, the industry, along with the Deutsche Bundesbahn set up a "Community Office" (Gemeinschaftsbüro) for the development of a 300 km/h (190 mph) train. More than 30 concept variations of a high-speed train were studied, particularly having the costs per person-kilometer in consideration. The selection was then narrowed down to 10 variations, and the initial results were presented in 1975. A test locomotive of 12 MW (16,000 hp) power and the capability to reach 400 km/h (250 mph) was also suggested to be built, but was not realised due to cost restrictions.[6] A draft of a train capable of reaching 300 km/h (190 mph) for 200 to 600 passengers was put forth by the company Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm in 1978, but was not realised as well.[4]

In 1975, the Bundesbahn, the industry and research communities agreed on a three-step research strategy. Building on the research conducted in the first step, the second step should involve testing of the research. Under this step, a roller dynamometer test bench in the Schwabing neighbourhood of Munich was built, capable of reaching speeds of up to 500 km/h (310 mph).[3] A planned national transport test facility in the secon half of the 1970s did not, however, materialise.

The newly founded Forschungsgemeinschaft Rad/Schiene (Rail-wheel research community) from the industry, universities, and the railways took up works towards a conventional test train, this time with the perspective of user- and passenger-friendliness. On 19 December 1979, the group introduced the first prototype, called the Versuchsfahrzeug 1 (test train 1). By the middle of 1980, a three-part train capable of reaching 350 km/h (220 mph) was developed, and the name Versuchsfahrzeug 2 (test train 2) was used. This was to be tested in the then under-construction railway test facility Rheine-Feren, between the towns of Rheine and Freren. After the dry tests of the test train 1 in the early 1980s, preparations for a new prototype began, now named as the Rad/Schiene-Versuchs- und -Demonstrationsfahrzeug (Rail-wheel test and demonstration power train) (R/S-VD).[3] In August 1982, the Deutsche Bundesbahn decided to invest 12 Million Deutsche Mark (DM) in the R/S-VD project, and changed the name to IC Experimental (InterCityExperimental).[7]

Deutsche Bundesbahn had been operating InterCity trains at up to 200 km/h (120 mph) since 1977. The following year, research into even higher speeds began.

The cost of construction was split between the Federal Ministry for Research (61%), the DB (17%) and the involved companies (22%).[1]

The train was delivered in 1985 and was used mainly for testing purposes for the new Intercity-Express trains and as a showcase train. It set the new land speed record for railed vehicles on May 1, 1988, at 406.9 km/h (252.8 mph), which remained unsurpassed until 1990.[1]

The delivery of the ICE 1 powercars (now called Class 401), based on those of the ICE-V started in 1987. After that, the train was mainly used for material evaluation. The train was retired in 1998 and its powercars and cars were placed on exhibition at various sites. It was replaced by the ICE S.


  1. ^ a b c Peter Jehle; René Naumann; Rainer Schach (2006). Transrapid und Rad-Schiene-Hochgeschwindigkeitsbahn: Ein gesamtheitlicher Systemvergleich (in German). Springer. p. 20. ISBN 3-540-28334-X. 
  2. ^ Niedt, Marcus (February 1988). "Mit dem ICE ins Jahr 2000?". Eisenbahn-Kurier (in German). 23 (185): 10–18. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Maier, Matthias; Block, Rüdiger (1991). "ICE. InterCity Experimental. InterCity Express". Eisenbahn-Kurier Special: Hochgeschwindigkeitsverkehr (in German) (21): 58–61. 
  4. ^ a b Obermayer, Horst J. (1991). "Die Entwicklung des InterCityExperimental". Eisenbahn Journal (Special Issue) (in German) (1/1991): 14–27. 
  5. ^ Über das Verkehrsmittel der Zukunft (in German) (Deutsche Bundesbahn und Deutsche Eisenbahn-Consulting GmbH ed.). 1986. p. 36. 
  6. ^ Kurz, Heinz (April 2006). "15 Jahre ICE. Teil 1: Vom Intercity-Experimental zum ICE 1". Eisenbahn-Kurier. 4 (43): 58–63. ISSN 0170-5288. 
  7. ^ Münchschwander, Peter (1990). Das Hochgeschwindigkeitssystem der Deutschen Bundesbahn. (Taschenbuch Verkehrswirtschaft, Schienenschellverkehr 3). Heidelberg: R. v. Decker's Verlag. p. 26.