Every year we plan a few big trips together, Timothy and I. When we heard ÖBB’s proposal to launch Nightjet service to Brussels in December 2019 we jumped on the occasion and included a ride back home from Austria to Belgium on the Nightjet after our autumn Berlin, Czechia and Slovakia trip. However as we all know in early 2020 an annoying new coronavirus COVID-19, appeared and shook up travel all over the world. We changed our plans to an itinerary in ‘safe’ Germany including stops in Leipzig, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Munich, Lindau and Garmisch-Partenkirchen from where we would take a short train ride to Innsbruck to board our Nightjet back home.
After spending some time in Leipzig it was time to once again cross the former iron curtain towards Nuremberg in Bavaria. For this trip we travelled from the majestic main station in Leipzig on an ICE 1 train alongside the new high-speed line VDE 8 via Erfurt until just north of Bamberg where we would join the classic line until Nurnberg.
Even though this time we travelled in second class, the old ICE 1 felt sturdier and more comfortable than the ICE 4 we experienced two days prior. There still is a nice variation between open seating in a 2-2 configuration as well as some compartments for six persons. As the train was relatively quiet we were lucky in having a private compartment for just the two of us.
The ICE 1 always had a soft spot for me, as when it was introduced in 1991 it was a sign of modernity. And as my father was a model railroader the model train brochures with their brand new all white ICE 1 models always caught my eyes. Unfortunately these comfortable but older trains are due to be phased and replaced by newer models like the ICE 4.
It’s clear that they were designed in an era that the passenger comfort was more important versus the trying to cram in as many seats as possible now, so their lower seat count doesn’t help their case. Even though we left with a delay of about 10 minutes in Leipzig we arrived spot on time in Nuremberg, as these ICE 1‘s can go up to 280 km/h which the driver also did to make up time. The schedule is calculated for a speed of 250 km/h as the newer ICE 4’s also in use on this line can’t drive faster, giving an edge to the older trains in catching up delays.
What’s your favourite ICE series and why? Let us know in the comments below!