Information published on 31 May 2011 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 240.

20 years of high speed in Germany

  • High-Speed

On 2 June 1991, the first ICE high speed train began operating a regular service from Hamburg-Altona to Frankfurt am Main.

Today, 210,000 passengers use the ICE network daily, a tightly-integrated system covering the entire country, with each journey averaging a length of 307 km.

Deutsche Bahn’s ICE fleet has travelled a total distance of 1.4 billion km and its 252 trainsets – spanning four generations – constitute the backbone of long-distance passenger transport in the Federal Republic of Germany. ICE trains operate 60% of passenger transport in Germany. In 1992, 10 million passengers had travelled by ICE while in 2010 this figure had reached almost 78 million.

Germany has 1200 km of newly-built or upgraded lines on which ICE trains may operate at speeds of 230 km/hr or more. On the new Cologne-Rhine Main and Nuremburg-Ingolstadt lines, ICE trainsets even run at speeds of 300 km/hr.

This 20th anniversary of high speed in Germany is one of a host of significant anniversary dates in the history of international railways: 47 years of high speed in Japan (Shinkansen), 30 years of high speed in France (TGV) not to mention the forthcoming 90th anniversary of UIC (founded in 1922).

UIC warmly congratulates the management and staff of Deutsche Bahn on this occasion.