Because of the high fuel prices and the desire for more climate protection, many people want to leave their car at home more often. The railway therefore wants to become even more attractive for its customers and is redesigning the interior of the ICE. "I can build my nest here as a guest," promises long-distance transport manager Peterson.
You could even bring your houseplant: the ICE gets window sills in first class. But that is by no means the only change, and there will soon be a lot of new things for passengers in second class as well. With a new design for the next few decades, Deutsche Bahn wants to attract more customers to its ICE trains. It promises more comfort, more privacy - more "living room".
For example the colours: light oak veneer in all classes, in the bistro covers in the dark train attendant red "burgundy", first class grey, only second class in shades of blue as before, but with a warmer light. There are higher quality covers with more wool than synthetics; Leather seats in first class are passé. There is a shelf for tablets above the folding table for watching films. And one source of conflict has been defused: each pair of seats gets a second socket.
How hard are the seats?
Not as hard as the seats that the ICE4 was introduced with a few years ago. The train has exchanged after criticism. Something like this shouldn't happen again. 900 passengers were therefore able to help develop the new seats as test persons. "We listened," says the railway. At the same time, it promises robust and durable seats - because on average they have to withstand four passengers a day for many years.
What does that mean, the train becomes a "living room"? The distances between the rows of seats remain the same. However, the new seats can be adjusted in a variety of ways and no longer have any space in the second class - if you fold up the armrests, you get a bench. There is more storage space. A continuous seat shell behind both backrests protects against prying eyes.
"I can build my nest here as a guest," says long-distance transport boss Michael Peterson. Deutsche Bahn is also working on a new reservation system: families, business travelers and other user groups should be able to be booked in specific, flexibly definable zones.
When can you see the new design?
The first train will leave in December 2023. It is the 17th ICE3 neo train, of which 73 have been ordered. 23 low-floor long-distance trains from the Spanish manufacturer Talgo are also to receive the same design. They will be delivered from the end of 2023 and will operate under the name ICE-L on cross-border and tourist routes. For cost reasons, the existing fleet is not yet being converted, says Peterson. New trains of the still young ICE4 also come in the well-known design. What's behind it?
"We are underpinning our claim to attract even more people to Deutsche Bahn," says CEO Richard Lutz. Train instead of plane or car - this is how Germany wants to achieve its climate goals in transport. In 2030, twice as many people are expected to travel on long-distance rail services as in 2015. Many new trains will be bought for this purpose. The number of ICE trains will increase to 450 this decade. By the end of this year there will be 360 - five years ago there were about a hundred fewer. However, the previous design of most ICEs dates largely from the 1990s.