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ICE L: The new golden age of conventional trains

The economic leader of the world´s first common-currency union is also at the head of a most ambitious project Western Europe has ever embarked upon: decarbonization. Under this initiative, Germany set the target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 % by 2030, as compared to the 1990 levels. And the importance of Talgo´s ICE L trains in the achievement of this task, designed to address and tackle the ongoing climate change, cannot be underestimated.

In a country with one of the busiest rail networks in the world, where high speed is more exception than rule, reliable, fully-accessible and totally interoperable long-distance conventional trains are the key to the successful accomplishment of the environmental goals.  DB chose Talgo, because our trains are a feasible alternative to flying.

The new trains based on the Talgo 230 platform are referred to by the German operator Deutsche Bahn as ICE L, indicating unambiguously their main advantage: Intercity Express, with the L standing for "low-floor".

Contract without precedent

To reinforce its fleet in this new decarbonization scenario, Deutsche Bahn purchased from Talgo long-distance units for the existing conventional routes, with the intention to improve both travel times and passenger comfort levels. In the highly competitive international bid, completed in 2019, Talgo became the only winner awarded a big frame contract for the supply of approximately 100 railway units worth of 2,300 million euros.

Talgo locomotives

The new DB train is a self-propelled multiple unit. Its configuration is quite common for Germany, including a conventional locomotive at one of the train ends pushing or pulling according to the direction of travel, 16 intermediate non-powered passenger cars and another trailer car at the opposite end of the unit provided with a driver´s cab. From the latter, commands are sent to the locomotive when in the pushing mode.

Up to the highest technical demands

To face the challenge, Talgo offered Deutsche Bahn its modular platform Talgo 230, a comprehensive transport solution specifically designed for conventional lines on the basis of the loco-hauled trains which had shown superior performance with the index of reliability close to 99% during their operation in countries with the most diverse technical requirements, such as the USA and Germany.

Travel to the heart of Europe

Talgo ICE L, accommodating a total of 562 passengers per train, 85 in the first- and 477 in the second-class cars, are expected to operate mainly on the Berlin – Amsterdam line, currently in high demand and featuring a 2-hour service frequency. Their light weight and multi-system traction technology will allow to shorten the journey time on this route by approximately 30 minutes, so that passengers can get from the capital of Germany to the heart of the Netherlands in only 5 hours and 50 minutes, without the need for the train to stop at the border.

New accessibility standards

Talgo running gear technology allows to build trains with floors matching the height of standard railway platforms. The floor height is the same along the entire length of the train, enabling persons with disabilities to enter without assistance. Talgo ICE L is a zero-steps train, where accesses, aisles, passenger seats and the rest of the on-board facilities are at level with the platform.

ICE L from the inside

Talgo vehicles feature wider carbody, offering more space per passenger, if compared to the competition, which adds another advantage to the technological uniqueness of our rolling stock.

Technical features