DB AG, Dirk Wittmann

Talgo’s ICE L for Deutsche Bahn begins testing in Germany

DB AG, Dirk Wittmann DB AG, Dirk Wittmann

The first of 79 ICE L long-distance and high-speed trains to be built by the Spanish manufacturer Talgo for Deutsche Bahn (DB) have reached Lower Saxony, in Germany. The ICE L is specially adapted to extremely hot weather conditions. A second unit is already in Vienna for climate trials.

Mid-May, Deutsche Bahn unveiled an ambitious plan to modernise and expand its ICE high-speed train fleet, leading to the largest train supply contract in Talgo’s history: DB has placed an order for 56 new units, costing approximately 1.4 billion euros. This significant order is in addition to the 23 units initially procured under the 100-trains framework contract inked in 2019. Talgo is now set to manufacture a total of 79 ICE L units, which are scheduled to commence operations in the autumn of 2024.

Each train, comprising 17 passenger carriages, is the initial unit of the 79 Talgo trains contracted for the German operator. The trains have 562 seats (85 first-class, 477 second-class) with a modern interior. The carriages feature special windows to improve onboard telephone and mobile data coverage.

The trains are also equipped with a multisystem locomotive. Notably, the last carriage incorporates a driver’s cab, introducing a flexible operational configuration that is uncommon in Spain but widely adopted in Germany. Lastly, the ICE L service boasts a unique feature with 100% low-floor accessibility across all carriages (Intercity-Express Low-Floor), setting it apart from conventional high-speed trains.

Climatic tests

The trains will be managed by Deutsche Bahn, serving both domestic and international routes. The service is slated to debut in 2024, starting from Berlin to Amsterdam and later extending connections to Denmark and Austria. Manufactured entirely in Spain, the train undertook a lengthy rail journey, covering 2,000 kilometres, crossing France and a significant part of Germany, to reach its destination in Lower Saxony.

Certification tests for ICE L’s homologation will begin at the Zughotel in Braunschweig, followed by dynamic tests in Poland, reaching speeds of up to 160 km/h on the Żmigród test track. Further tests will be conducted in Germany to simulate real operational conditions, with speeds reaching up to 230 kilometres per hour and a top speed target of 253 kilometres per hour during homologation runs.

Simultaneously, a second set of ICE L trains arrived in Austria, finding its home in the aerodynamic and climatic test tunnel of Rail Tec Arsenal (RTA) in Vienna. These state-of-the-art facilities offer a unique opportunity for Talgo to subject the train to a comprehensive range of atmospheric conditions, encompassing extreme solar radiation, rain, snow, ice, and wind simulations matching actual track speeds.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at RailTech.com and RailTech.be.

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