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European trains
Moore's Trains - German Railway Trains Die Deutsche Bahn Berlin

German Railway trainss Die Bahn, Deutsche Bahn AG the German Railway

European suburban & intercity express trains 
My name is Craig Moore and I enjoy seeing trains thunder past, be they old restored steam engines to modern electric or diesel superfast intercity express trains. Many people have a fascination with trains from the child playing with his Thomas the Tank Engine Hornby railway set to the train spotting enthusiast. Europe is blessed with conservation groups who restore, maintain, preserve and run old steam engines, track, stations, points and signal boxes. They take the same care in restoring the passenger carriages as they do the wagons and trucks.

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ICE Train - Die Bahn, Deutsche Bahn AG the German Railway
Die Bahn, Deutsche Bahn AG the German Railway, Inc., known as German Rail in the English-speaking world, is one of Europe's most advanced rail systems. On a typical day, 350,000 passengers travel the long-distance routes of Deutsche Bahn, more than 64,000 of those in the popular new high-speed ICE trains. Germany's very first train line, the Ludwigsbahn, was already running between Fürth and Nürnberg in 1835. However, Deutsche Bahn has only been in existence since January 1994.

Until that time, German trains had been run by two separate state-owned, deficit-ridden operations. The Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) or German Federal Railway was the old West German railway that had been running things there since Germany's division in 1949. The Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR) or German Imperial Railway in former East Germany kept the pre-war name of the railroad that Hitler and those before him had known.

The 1994 privatization was a merger of the two German state railroads that had tried to act as one since German reunification in 1990. However, the privatization was also an effort to get the government out from under billions of marks of mounting debt.

Since June 1991 the new ICE trains, Inter City Express trains have been operating on several high-speed lines between major German cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt. These sleek, white trains travel at 250-280 km/h (155-174 mph), whisking passengers along in quiet, comfortable cars equipped with video screens (in first class), stereo headsets, fax machines, and telephones. Like jet airplanes ICE cars are pressurized, sparing passengers any ear discomfort in the tunnels required to keep the roadbeds straight and level for high speed.

Traveling by train in Europe can be a lot more pleasant if you know a few tricks of the trade-particularly in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. European trains, including German Rail, are among the best in the world. Europe's fastest trains, the French TGV and Germany's ICE (InterCity Express), are technologically ahead of anything running on U.S. rails. The popular InterRegio express trains zoom across country borders, connecting major European cities. The normal, everyday InterCity (IC) and EuroCity (EC) trains crisscross Europe, offering convenient connections to cities inside and outside Germany.

For shorter journeys there are numerous trains ranging from local commuter runs to fairly fast D-Züge (through-trains) that are sometimes just as speedy as InterCity trains. The recently discontinued Eilzug will not be missed. Although eilen means "to hurry," an Eilzug wasn't really that fast. The regional trains are now designated: RB (RegionalBahn, stops everywhere), RE (RegionalExpress, faster, does not stop everywhere) and SE StadtExpress (semi-fast connections connecting cities to their outskirts), not available in all parts of Germany. Learning to read the train codes (RE, EC, IC, ICE, etc.) on German schedules can help you find the fastest train to your destination.

Since all big or medium-sized cities, as well as many smaller communities in German-speaking Europe have a train station (or two or three), train travel is convenient and efficient. The main train station (Hauptbahnhof) is usually located in the center of town, from which commuter trains, taxis, streetcars, and buses can take the traveler straight to a final destination. The weakest link in this otherwise efficient chain is often the station ticket office, where it seems there are always too few ticket agents for too many passengers. Long lines and long waits are all too common.

All European trains are divided into first and second class. Look for a large "1" or "2" painted on the car near the door. Some special trains (EC, IC, ICE, etc.) also have a surcharge or Zuschlag of six marks added to the price of the ticket, whether it is first or second class. If you have not paid the surcharge, the conductor will require payment (in cash) when checking your ticket. The surcharge for ICE trains varies, depending on the connection.

The ICE project started in the 1980s and the first ICE was the inter-city experimental, which gained a speed record over 400km/h which held the world record for a train for a short period. After that since 1991 the Inter City Express (ICE) has been a high speed train for Germany, not quite as fast as the TGV but still reaching speeds of 174mph. In 1996 starting the 2nd generation, same top speed although an improved design. Just like in France, the ICE runs on its own dedicated high speed lines, the main one running from Fulda to Hannover, with a small section of line between Ulm and Frankfurt. Speeds up to 280km/h or 174mph can be achieved.

In 1999 the 3rd generation of ICE will be introduced which will be capable of 330km/h or 205mph. However in service it is likely that it will be limited to 300km/h or 186mph. This will be for the Berlin-Hannover line currently being built. Most ICE services run on existing conventional railway lines, where it can cruise at a maximum of 200km/h or 125mph. However this is dependent on how curved the line is. Connections go to Munich, Berlin and Hamburg with Hannover being the central with the high speed line.

Also in 1999 The ICE VT will be a diesel electric train designed to give high speed services to the non-electrified sections of existing lines. the ICE VT will reach 200km/h or 125mph, again this reinforces the idea the upper limit for the Diesel is 200 km/h. The only other high speed diesel currently in existence is the British Intercity 125. In 1998 there was introduced 230km/h or 143mph ICE tilting trains which will be used for services on conventional track, again increasing speeds because they will be able to take curves faster than conventional trains

I have travelled on the ICE twice. It is the most luxurious high speed train I have ever travelled on, it makes the TGV seem like a rather dull train in an aircraft style. One could be fooled that the seating in standard class was first class seating! Also there are places to hang up coats, leg room is plentiful and the train ride is very comfortable. If only it had the speed of the TGV! Seating can be reserved or you can just show up and buy the ticket on the same day.

It is worth remembering that the German train was only travelling at 125mph or 200km/h. Although this sounds, looks and feels fast it doesn't quite constitute as high speed, since hundreds of conventional trains all over Europe are capable of this. The ICE has a cruising speed of 280km/h or 174mph, which is only achievable when running on dedicated high speed track built recently. However this time it was travelling on old conventional track.

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