The Intercity-Express (written as InterCityExpress in Austria, Denmark, Switzerland and, formerly, in Germany) or ICE ( ) is a system of high-speed trains predominantly running in Germany and its surrounding countries . It is the highest service category offered by DB Fernverkehr and is the flagship of Deutsche Bahn. The brand name "ICE" is among the best-known in Germany, with a brand awareness close to 100%, according to DB.
There are currently 259 trainsets in five different versions of the ICE vehicles in use, named ICE 1 (deployed in 1991), ICE 2 (1996), ICE T (1999), ICE 3 (1999) and ICE TD (2001–2003, back in service 2007). The ICE 3, including its variant models, is made by a consortium led by Bombardier and Siemens.
Apart from domestic use, the trains can also be seen in countries neighbouring Germany. There are, for example, ICE 1 lines to Basel and Zurich. ICE 3 trains also run to Liège and Brussels and at lower speeds to Amsterdam. On 10 June 2007, a new line between Paris and Frankfurt/Stuttgart was opened, jointly operated by ICE and TGV trains. ICE trains to London via the Channel Tunnel are planned for 2015.
While ICE 3M trains operate the Paris-to-Frankfurt service (with the exception of trains 9553/9552, which operate with TGV POS equipment and are cross-crewed with both SNCF and DB staff), SNCF's TGV runs from Paris to Munich (via Stuttgart), with mixed crews on both trains.
German and Austrian ICE T trains run to Vienna. On 9 December 2007, the ICE TD was introduced on the service from Berlin via Hamburg to the Danish cities of Århus and Copenhagen.
The Spanish railway operator RENFE also employs trains based on the ICE 3 (Siemens Velaro). Wider versions were ordered by China for the Beijing-Tianjin high-speed rail link (CRH 3) and by Russia for the Moscow – Saint Petersburg and Moscow – Nizhny Novgorod routes (Velaro RUS).