ICE 1 (class 401, 801, 802, 803 and 804)

After the experiments with the ICE-V since 1985, the ICE 1 was built as the first ICE generation for revenue service. Since 1990, 60 trainsets were built, they entered regular service in 1991. Currently, they are in service mostly on north - south lines through Germany, with Bremen, Hamburg and Berlin in the North, Basel and München in the South, plus some trains to Switzerland and a couple more locations.

60 ICE 1 trainsets with 120 power units and 694 coaches have been built. Originally the trains had either 10 or 12 intermediate coaches between the power units, technically anything between 8 and 14 coaches is possible. A train with 12 coaches has 144 seats in 1st class and 501 seats in 2nd class.

With the production of additional ICE 2 carriages suitable for the ICE 1, all trains could be reconfigured to 12 coaches.

After the accident of June 1998, which was caused by a broken wheel tyre, the ICE 1 cars that had been equipped with rubber-sprung wheels had to be taken out of service and equipped with the original "monobloc" wheels. As there weren't enough wheels on stock and the production of new wheels takes time, a number of ICE 1 trains was temporarily shortened to 8 middle cars.

Pictures of the ICE 1

Styling, spotting features

For the ICE, the DBAG introduced a new styling line that looks substantially different from all previous trains. Among the new design features are:

Except for a changed front design for the ICE 3 and ICT, all ICE generations share this styling concept.

The styling of the ICE 1 was changed from the prototype ICE-V in some aspects. The livery is an even brighter grey with an orient-red stripe under the windows and a pastel pink line under it (in the same colours as the window band of the 1986 to 1996 InterCity livery). At the front, the stripe wraps around, lowered and thinned a bit. At the left end of each carriage it is interrupted to make room for the logo (originally a red DB logo, since 1994 a DB AG logo (`Dürr-Keks')). The locomotives and the windowless side of the BordRestaurant have a big grey ICE inscription.

Since 1998, some ICE 1 units are repainted to a slightly changed livery during overhauls. The two-tone red stripe is replaced by a single stripe in traffic red (new standard colour for DB AG rolling stock). A small logo interrupts the stripe on the front of the power cars. The styling of the "info boxes" next to the doors, showing 1st or 2nd class, smoking/nonsmoking and the seat numbers, is changed slightly, using a lighter typeface and more angular pictograms.

The carriages have the standard length of 26.4 m, are higher than those of the ICE-V and are as wide as it's possible within the German clearance, to get a more spacious interior. Very distinctive is the dining-car, called `BordRestaurant', with its elevated roof with additional small windows. The cross-section of the train has slightly changed, with a visible crease between the window band and the red stripe. The nose has tighter curves now, looking a bit slimmer than the ICE-V. The lower lights are now double - in addition to the outer lights which work as red or white signal lights depending on the direction of travel, bright headlights have been installed at the inner positions to improve visibility by night. Between the lights, a grille covers the horns and the air-conditioning system of the cab. The complicated streamlined diaphragms of the prototype were discontinued, instead much simpler and less aerodynamic bellows were installed, leaving visible gaps between the cars.

Train composition

(N = Non-smokers, S = Smokers, R = seats in Rows, T = seats at Tables, C = seats in Compartments, WC = Toilet)

04010Locomotive, cab
180282nd cl (22 S/T, 20 S/R, 24 S/C), video, 2 WC
280262nd cl (22 S/T, 20 S/R, 24 S/C), 2 WC
380242nd cl (22 N/T, 20 N/R, 24 N/C), 2 WC
48020/32nd cl (22 N/T, 20 N/R, 24 N/C), 2 WC
58020/32nd cl (22 N/T, 20 N/R, 24 N/C), 2 WC
68020/32nd cl (22 N/T, 20 N/R, 24 N/C), 2 WC
78020/32nd cl (22 N/T, 20 N/R, 24 N/C), 2 WC
98032nd cl (22 N/T, 17 N/R), wheelchair space, conference and crew compartments, phone
10804BordRestaurant (24N/T)
1180101st cl (17 N/T, 16 N/R, 15 N/C), WC
1280141st cl (17 N/T, 16 N/R, 15 N/C), WC
1480181st cl (17 S/T, 16 S/R, 15 S/C), video, phone, WC
154015Locomotive, cab

This is an example composition of a train with 12 middle carriages. The order of 8020 and 8023 (which have only a different seat colour) is not standardised. The carriages 6 and 7 are missing in some shorter trainsets. Carriage 7 is sometimes a first class coach class 8010 relettered to 2nd class - due to a shortage of 2nd class cars, some 2nd class passengers can travel in 1st class comfort in certain trains. Since 1996, additional cars class 8029 have been built, a version of class 806 of the ICE 2, technically compatible to the ICE 1.

For compositions of all ICE 1 and ICE 2 trainsets, see on the page of the magazine "Drehscheibe" under "Reihungen".

in rowsat tablesin compartmentsno smokingsmoking sum
1st class48 seats (33%)51 seats (35%) 45 seats (31%)96 seats (67%)48 seats (33%) 144 seats (22%)
2nd class157 seats (31%)176 seats (35%) 168 seats (34%)369 seats (74%)132 seats (26%)501 seats (78%)
sum205 seats (32%)227 seats (35%) 213 seats (33%)465 seats (72%)180 seats (28%)645 seats

Technical data

power unitmiddle cartrain
length20.56 m26.40 m 305.12 m (10 cars)
357.9 m (12 cars)
410.72 m (14 cars)
width3.07 m3.02 m3.07 m
height3.84 m3.84 m
4.30 m (804)
4.30 m
bogie distance11.46 m17.00 m
axle distance3.00 m2.80 m
wheel diameter1.04 m0.92 m
mass78 t 52.8 t (801)
53.6 t (803)
58.2 t (804)
690.2 t (10 cars)
798.2 t (12 cars)
906.2 t (14 cars)
axle load (max)19.5 t
power (cont.)4800 kW9600 kW
power (max.)7600 kW15200 kW
top speed 280 km/h
mass/length2.23 t/m
mass/seat1.24 t/seat
power/mass12.02 kW/t
power/seat14.88 kW/seat
Total area866.31 m² (12 cars)
Passenger area653.34 m² (12 cars)

Dynamics with 14 carriages:

Acceleration time from 0 Acceleration distance from 0 Braking distance (normal/emergency)
100 km/h1m06s900 m
200 km/h3m20s6850 m
250 km/h6m20s18350 m4820 m/2300 m

The locomotives have been derived from those of the ICE-V, but increased in power as the ICE 1 trains are much longer. The transformer is under the floor, one inverter per truck feeds two asynchronous 3-phase AC motors. The ICE 1 has no more high-voltage roof cable, as it is long enough that the two raised pantographs of the power units don't disturb each other. 38 locomotives (for 19 trains) have a second pantograph and the Integra signalling system, so they can go to Switzerland (Zürich, Bern and Luzern) too. 80 of the 120 power cars have new GTO thyristors.

The middle cars run on MD52-350 trucks as they have been tested in the ICE-V, except for some experimental cars where other designs are tested. Their length is longer than that of the ICE-V, 26.4 m as most passenger coaches. They are 19.5 cm wider, as they only circulate in Germany and Switzerland where the loading gauge is wider than in other European countries. This allows more elbow room especially in the 2+2 seating area of the second class.


120 locomotives class 401 (001..020, 051..090, 501..520, 551..590)
199 first class coaches class 801 (001..098, 401..440, 801..860, 901*)
400 second class coaches class 802 (001..098, 301..458, 601..660, 801..860, 901..924*)
60 second class/service cars class 803 (001..060)
60 dining-cars class 804 (001..060)

* Class 8019 and 8029, built 1996/97, are derived from ICE 2 coaches and technically adapted to the ICE 1.


The coaches (class 801, 802)

Each carriage except the BordRestaurant has entrances through airtight swinging-sliding doors at both ends. Next to the entrance pointing to the first class end of the train are two small toilets in second class, one larger toilet in first class. Since 1996, there are recycling bins for glass, packages and paper next to the toilet doors, which replaced the rubbish bins in the wardrobes. Next are four six-seat compartments in second class, three five-seat compartments in first class. As many passengers in Germany prefer to travel in compartments, the DB decided to offer them in the ICE 1 (in the ICE 2 generations, they are abandoned again, but the ICE 3 and ICT will have some 1st class compartments again). The side corridor along the compartments is separated from the open seating area by an automatic sliding glass door, which is now permanently open in second class.

The rest of each coach has seats around a central aisle (2+2 arrangement in second class, 2+1 arrangement in first class). In the middle of the coach, the seats are arranged in rows, with the possibility of turning them into the direction of travel (except where the seats are video-equipped). However, as many ICE trains change their direction of travel during the run, for example in Frankfurt (Main) and Stuttgart, it would be too cumbersome to turn around the seats every time, so they mostly end up never turned at all. For turning around a double or single seat, you have to release a lever in the base of the seat, then you can pull it out towards the central aisle, turn it around, push it into the original position again and put the lever back in position.

Towards the other end, the seats are grouped around tables of two (in first class only), three or four passengers. Between these groups, in the middle of the open seating section, are two wardrobes in second class, one in first class. Each seat has a headphone plug and a dial that allows to select one of 8 programmes: three internal CDs (classics, rock and children), three regional radio programmes and the two video channels. The whole train is no smoking, except for one first class car at the end and two second class cars at the other end. The first and last car (smoking) have video screens in the central seating section without fixed tables, that allow to select one of two movie programmes.

The open seating area is separated from the entrance door by a glass wall with automatic sliding doors, giving a very transparent impression of the entrance situation.

The service car (class 803)

The second class car next to the BordRestaurant has some seats less in the central section, and room for passengers in wheelchairs instead. Instead of compartments, this one has a conference room with four chairs, crew and catering rooms, a phone box, a staff toilet and a big wheelchair-compatible toilet.

The BordRestaurant (class 804)

The BordRestaurant, with a higher roof, has no entrances from outside, except for kitchen loading doors (not for passengers). 24 seats (partly as benches, partly as loose chairs) are grouped around tables in 2+1 arrangements towards the first class end. In 1993, the acceptance of a meal service at the seat was tested in some trains. Here, the chairs and tables have been replaced by armchairs, to be used by first class passengers. This experiment was a failure, passengers preferred going to the dining-car. The kitchen is in the middle of the car, and on the other end is a snack bar (BordTreff) with benches along four tables. Originally, smoking was allowed in this section, but this was soon changed to non-smoking, as a survey showed that most passengers prefer it this way.

New coaches (8019, 8029)

Due to the high occupation of some ICE 1 trains especially in second class, more coaches are needed to make them longer. As an interim solution, some 801s were lettered as second class coaches and run in the second class block of a few ICEs (usually as car number 7). So some lucky second class passengers travel in first class comfort until new coaches are delivered. The DBAG decided not to build more 801s and 802s, but to modify some of the ordered ICE 2 coaches (class 805 and 806) to make them compatible to the ICE 1. They are lighter, have new trucks, no more compartments and new `slim' seats which are lighter and offer more leg room, allowing a higher capacity (2nd class: 73 seats, 1st class: 54 seats).

Seating measurements

1st class2nd class
Seat pitch (row seat)1144 mm1025 mm
Knee space (row seat)960 mm847 mm
Seat width500 mm480 mm
Aisle width (open)636 mm506 mm

Ground plan

This is a ground plan with the seat numbers of the ICE 1 middle cars class 801, 802, 803 and 804.

History of the ICE 1

The first locomotives were delivered in 1989, the first carriages in 1990. In 1991, 25 trainsets were finished, and the first ICE line was opened.

From June to December 1994, an ICE trainset was in the USA on a demonstration tour (see below). Despite this effort of the industry, the new high speed train was ordered from the competitors (Bombardier and GEC-Alsthom).

There were some problems with the ICE 1, so the trains had to be rebuilt. Some examples: The doors sometimes didn't close, so the mechanism was changed and a cover over it installed. The rubber profiles at the ends of the cars (which should improve the wind resistance of the diaphragms) sometimes got loose at high speed and fell off the train, so they were removed.

In 1993, new catering concepts for the ICE 2 were tested. The BordRestaurants of some trains have been rebuilt as described above, and were rebuilt into original state after the experiment.

The change of the BordTreff to non-smoking and the installation of new recycling bins have been described above.

The first ICEs had leaflets explaining the features of the train and the music programme. Later, this has been included in the magazine `ZUG' which is in the train, free for passengers. Now, the music programme is in a separate brochure again. As in all express trains of the DBAG, there should be timetable leaflets at all seats. Every ICE has a name and a train number in the 500 - 999 range (or 0 - 200 for international trains), and can be reached under a telephone number. Since 1997, a newspaper `ICE-press' is printed in the trains and distributed to 1st class passengers.

To suppress vibrations caused by not perfectly round wheels, about two thirds of the ICE 2 middle cars were rebuilt with different wheels, with a layer of rubber between the tyre and the wheel body, instead of the original monobloc wheels around 1996. A broken wheel tyre on one of these wheels caused the tragic accident of June 1998. These carriages were then equipped with the original type of wheel again in 1998. The vibration problem is still not solved, it would require measures such as rebuilding the bogies from steel coil springs to pneumatic suspension (the TGV Sud-Est trains have been rebuilt in a similar way!).

ICE 1 demonstration tour in USA

From June to December 1994, a shortened ICE 1 trainset has been rented back to the industry, for a demonstration tour in the USA. The costs of ten million dollars were funded by an AEG/Siemens consortium hoping to sell a larger number of high-speed trains to Amtrak. The train was adapted to Amtrak standards and transported from Bremerhaven to Baltimore by ship.

Train composition

401 084-9locomotive
802 855-72nd class coach with video screens
802 657-72nd class coach
802 438-22nd class coach
803 056-12nd class + compartments for crew, minibar, phone
804 051-1BordRestaurant + BordTreff
801 856-61st class coach with video screens and phone
401 584-8locomotive

Technical modifications

The electric system was modified for Amtrak's 12kV/25Hz current system. The pantographs were replaced by a Brecknell Willis model able to handle the old catenary on Northeast Corridor with extreme height differences. The headlights were replaced by a brighter type, the cab instruments were changed to US standards, the security systems Indusi and Integra were replaced by automatic train control and automatic speed control. The gauge and wheel profile was changed too. The couplers were replaced by a knuckle coupler type H, so the train could be pulled by Diesel locomotives on non-electrified lines. For this, two prototype locomotives F69PHAC and a luggage car (serving as transformer car for powering the ICE's carriages) were repainted in the ICE livery. The demonstration train was easily distinguishable by the large Amtrak decals that replaced the DB logos.

National tour

From July to October, this ICE was shown to the public at Baltimore, Washington DC, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Albany, Maryland, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago, Sacramento, Oakland, San José, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Orlando, Raleigh, Providence, Boston, Springfield and St Louis.

Regular service

From October 4 to December 15, the train was in regular service as a Metroliner between New York and Washington DC, at a speed of up to 220 km/h.

What became of this train

Since January 1995, the demonstration ICE is back to Germany. The locomotives and some of the cars went into experimental service, for testing ICE 2 components together with the ICE-V - such as the new front coupler. After these tests were over, the demonstration train went back into regular service.

Models of the ICE 1


Märklin is building a model of the ICE 1 for the AC system, Delta and Märklin Digital. Technically it was simplified a bit in comparison with the ICE-V model, but it is a bit better detailed (correct pantographs etc). All versions of the middle cars (dining-car, service car and coaches with interior in different colours) are offered, so it is possible to compose a realistic consist. The middle cars are shortened in 1:100 scale. A version with two pantographs (for services to Switzerland) is offered too. A simplified version of this ICE with some inaccuracies is offered in start packs. One very limited run (which has risen in collector worth) was the reproduction of the Amtrak demonstration trainset.

Trix (which is now owned by Märklin) offers a DC version of the Märklin H0 ICE 1.

Fleischmann has probably the best-looking ICE 1 in H0 scale, for the DC system and FMZ. It is shortened less than the Märklin model (length scale 1:93), which leads to more elegant and realistic proportions. Here too, it is possible to buy all relevant versions of the middle cars. A full ICE 1 with twelve middle cars has the remarkable length of 3.868 m - and a remarkable price too .... An Amtrak variant of this train was offered too, as a limited production run.


Since 1997, Tillig has introduced the ICE to the 1:120 scale too. Meanwhile, all versions of the middle cars are available. One of the power cars of a trainset is motorized. The train is in unshortened 1:120 scale, and has flexible diaphragms that look nice even in curves. The middle cars have no interior details, but this is hardly visible due to the dark window bands and the lack of interior lighting.


Fleischmann makes an ICE 1 model in N scale which is again very similar to the H0 model. Probably N modelers will have less of a problem building a station long enough for a full length ICE 1.

Minitrix also produces a model of the ICE 1 in N, which unfortunately does not reproduce the asymmetric position of the door handles at the left and right of the power units. There also was a version of the ICE 1 in "fantasy livery" - dark gray with red stripe.