37788+43735 – The Class 403 and Add-On Set
Twenty-five years ago, a symbolic ICE run from Hamburg, Bonn, Mainz, Stuttgart, and Munich to the new ICE station in Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe officially rang in the start of high-speed service. In terms of schedules, all of this began with the first regularly scheduled ICE from Hamburg-Altona to Munich on June 2, 1991 and the success story of German high-speed service took off. The white ICE with the striking red stripes left its stamp on the image of the German Railroad. It stood and stands for modern, comfortable, fast rail service in Germany. In addition to clear reductions in travel times among other things, the full air conditioning, wide, comfortable entries, the sound deadening, and the high quality interior design set new standards for the passengers. In the first year of high speeds, approximately ten million passengers used the 25 ICEs in service. Today by contrast, almost 80 million passengers per day are underway in the approximately 250 ICE trains, and since 1991, the latter have racked up over 1.8 billion kilometers / 1.3 billion miles. This is the same as a route reaching 4,700 times from the earth to the moon. An entire family has come into being from the first ICEs. After the ICE 1 (class 401) and ICE 2 (class 402) with powered end cars, came the ICE 3 (class 403/406) and ICE T (class 411/415) with the modular setup concept for the propulsion. Not to forget the diesel-powered ICE TD (class 605), the Velaro D/ICE 3 (class 407) as well as the ICE 4 (class 412) currently in the test phase.
Yet the fastest of this entire family with a maximum speed 330 km/h / 206 mph is still the ICE 3. Its construction resulted from the requirements for the new construction route Frankfurt – Cologne with its grades of up to 4% as well as a maximum line speed of 300 km/h / 188 mph. These trains are also designed for use in neighboring countries with all possible types of current systems and under adherence to the locomotive/car limitations in effect there. This required a departure from the previous powered end car concept and the return to the "classic" powered rail car. In terms of propulsion technology, the eight-part ICE 3 sets consist of two four-part train halves that cannot be separated and that are assembled in a mirror image to each other. The powered end cars with current converters (types 403.0 and 403.5) are followed by non-powered transformer intermediate cars with the DB pantograph (types 403.1 and 403.6), a powered intermediate car with a current converter (types 403.2 and 403.7) as well as a non-powered intermediate car (types 403.3 and 403.8), where a battery and charging equipment are located. The design firm Alexander Neumeister in Munich created a new design in the end parts of the train with its optimal streamlined shape with the automatic Scharfenberg coupler hidden behind a cover hatch. The four-system trains (class 406) are similarly built. These ICE 3 units run exclusively on the new construction route Frankfurt/Main – Cologne and scatter in all directions of the compass in Frankfurt or Cologne.