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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
Within the above-mentioned agreement, DB immediately placed the first firm order of 23 trainsets for the amount of 550 million euros. These are currently being manufactured.
Later on May 2023—and within the same agreement—the German federal railway company confirmed a new order for another 56 new Talgo 230 trains worth 1,400 millions euros, the largest order in Talgo's history.
Under the contract, Talgo designs, builds and supplies to DB multi-voltage electric locomotives with a maximum operating speed of 230 km/h, fully compatible with different electrification and signaling systems.
These will enable the new trains to run not only on the German rail network, but to cross borders and operate in the neighboring countries. ICE L versatile design will also allow DB to use them with diesel locomotives when required and, therefore, always to the best advantage.
Up to the highest technical demands
Talgo´s extensive experience in the manufacture of interoperable trains and DB´s choice of a specialized platform conceived for long-distance conventional transportation services, with configurable interior design and lightweight technology, will allow the German operator to benefit from prior experience and obtain a reliable product certified and tested against the most rigorous and comprehensive standards worldwide: FRA´s norms in North America, GOST in CIS countries, and ERA´s technical specification for interoperability in the European Union, among others.
Travel to the heart of Europe
Due to their interoperability and increased capacity, Talgo ICE L are also expected to carry passengers to the main tourist destinations: the North Sea and the Alps. In summer 2024, Deutsche Bahn is planning to put them into service on the Westerland-Cologne, Westerland-Frankfurt-Karlsruhe, Westerland-Berlin and Oberstdorf-Cologne lines.
New accessibility standards
This means wheelchair users will need no external aid to board and alight from the train, or to get to one of the three PRM seats (provided with adjustable height tables) or to the PRM WC. The train will have braille tactile directional signs.
Talgo ICE L will also offer easier and quicker access of passengers traveling with large-size baggage or baby carriages and strollers. Inside, passengers will move freely to any part of the train with no vertical gaps or other obstacles in their way.
Talgo ICE L is an absolutely new model for the German operator, since from now on, each train manufactured and delivered by Talgo to DB, shall be fully accessible and provided with at least several entrances specifically adapted to persons with disabilities.
ICE L from the inside
As for equipment, according to DB´s request, the new ICE L will provide facilities and characteristics similar to those offered on board the ICEs, namely, WiFi, variable illumination during daylight hours, more luggage room, bistro on board and real-time information displays. DB also decided to equip its ICE L with passenger seats specifically tailored to satisfy any customer demand. Exhaustive tests will be conducted on several models of the seat under real operating conditions with passengers so that DB can make the decision thereon.
Talgo cars have shorter passenger rooms and a modular design, easily adaptable to ski, bike or luggage storage racks, if needed. These can also be modified to include children play areas.
Step-free access to all doors from standard platforms with a height of 760 mm
Various lighting modes throughout the day
Eight bicycle spaces on each train and a storage room for sports equipment (e.g. ski and snowboard racks)
Information monitors in entryways and seating areas displaying real-time data
Wi-Fi and onboard entertainment
Onboard restaurant passenger car with bar and grouped seats
Separate area for small children and families with a play area for children and storage spaces for strollers
Spaces for three passengers in wheelchairs with height adjustable tables
Storage for oversize luggage in every passenger car
Selection of newly designed seats that have been tested in advance with passengers before being installed in all vehicles
Length: 256 metres (of which locomotive 19.7 metres)
Height of carriages: 3.6 to 3.8 metres
Tare weight: 406 tonnes
Number of axles: 24 (of which 4 on the locomotive)