Development of our fleet
Vehicle availability under stress
Vehicle availability in the year under review was under significant stress, which was the result of both the huge increase in units being out of operation after incidents and the unusually long heat wave in summer 2018 that caused a significant rise in failures and partial malfunctions. The expansion of the ETCS operations with ICE 1 and ICE 3 trains on the Berlin — Munich high-speed line also experienced temporary technical shortcomings in the first few months following its launch in December 2017.
Compensating positive effects resulted from:
- capacity measures in facilities resulting from the OPEX program,
- additional technical stabilization of the fleet, such as the new wheel sets for ICE 3 and ICE T, and
- continuous renewal of the fleet with the intake of more ICE 4 and IC 2 trains.
The refitting of the ICE T fleet with new wheel sets will be completed in 2019 and was a prerequisite for the scheduled recommissioning of operations with the tilting body system (tilting technology) to Vienna in December 2017.
The operation of the IC 2 is largely stable and achieves the highest level of passenger satisfaction out of all long-distance transport fleets.
Vehicle projects continued
- The ICE 4 has been in regular operation since December 2017. The daily demand for ICE 4 trains rose from six to nine in June 2018 following the small timetable change. In addition to another increase in demand to 19 trains, operations also begun on the Cologne — Rhein/Main and Berlin — Munich lines from December 2018. Therefore the trains were prepared by the end of November and the train protection system ETCS was activated.
- The ICE 4 trains have been undergoing maintenance in Cologne as well as Hamburg and Munich since October 2018, and a contract for this was signed with Siemens for an initial nine-month period. Testing of a new wheel profile was successfully completed, thereby eliminating the vibrations that were previously detected and making it possible to achieve the mileage guaranteed in the contract.
- The redesign No. 87 of ICE 3 continued. After 15 years of operation, 63 trains will be made fit for the future by 2021. Fifty trains will be equipped with ETCS and can then be used on new high-speed lines. The vehicles can be used for at least another 15 years after modernization.
- The refitting of ICE 1 units with ETCS was completed according to schedule and the reliability of trains fitted with ETCS was successfully improved on the high-speed line Berlin — Munich in particular.
- For the Nuremberg — Karlsruhe (route 61) and Stuttgart — Singen (route 87) lines, 13 out of 17 IC 2 trains from the second batch ordered were acquired. Three of these trains have been on trial runs with passengers on route 61 since December 2018.