Record ridership on the ICE to Brussels: over 1 million passengers to be transported this year

16. November 2022, 14:30 o'Clock

Article: Record ridership on the ICE to Brussels: over 1 million passengers to be transported this year

20 years of ICE to Belgium or Germany - More space and improved comfort with the ICE 3neo from 2024 - Richard Lutz: "Setting the right course 20 years ago is paying off"

Deutsche Bahn (DB) is celebrating 20 years of the Brussels ICE line. More and more passengers are using cross-border high-speed rail between Germany and Belgium. For the first time, DB expects over one million passengers to use the ICE Brussels to travel to Belgium or Germany in 2022.

At a celebration to mark the 20th anniversary in Brussels with employees and guests from the government and business community, Dr Volker Wissing, German Minister for Transport, Georges Gilkinet, Belgian Minister for Transport, Dr Richard Lutz, CEO of Deutsche Bahn, and Sophie Dutordoir, CEO of SNCB/NMBS (Société nationale de chemins de fer belges), paid tribute to the successful record of long distance transport between Belgium and Germany.

DB CEO Richard Lutz: "Never have so many people chosen climate-friendly rail to travel between Germany and Belgium as this year. With one million travellers to and from Brussels, we are heading for a record. Setting the right course twenty years ago is paying off today. And from 2024, we will make rail travel to Brussels even more attractive with new trains and more comfort."

SNCB CEO Sophie Dutordoir: „Pioneer at that time, the ICE high speed train has become a pillar of sustainable mobility. It is an adventure that we share on a daily basis with Deutsche Bahn: for 20 years, our teams have been working together and ICE connects Brussels directly to Frankfurt via Aachen and Cologne. And now up to 7X/day. Trains provide safe, sustainable and comfortable transportation and offer an essential tool for achieving climate goals. And with more than 3,600 international destinations, of which more than 1,000 are less than 6 hours away, Brussels is positioning itself as an international rail hub.“

German Minister of Transport Dr Volker Wissing: "If we want to achieve our climate targets in transport, we have to convince a lot more people to travel by climate-friendly rail, by offering high-speed services, a regular-interval timetable, attractive journey times and modern comfort. The new ICE 3neo trains will help us to do this, because, as multi-system vehicles, they should significantly improve punctuality on this route again in the future. It's really good news for all travellers."

Georges Gilkinet: “The cooperation between the German and Belgian railways on the ICE line is a success story that I am delighted about. Whether it is for business trips, family visits or a city trip, 1 million passengers have made the choice of sustainability, comfort and user-friendliness with these high-speed trains since the introduction of this line. Twice as many places for bicycles as the European minimum required and a law to show the federal government's strong support for night trains: as Minister of Mobility, I want Belgium to play a leading role, both at the national and European levels, for the redeployment of night trains. One ICE on tracks means 2 planes less in the sky! Happy birthday to the ICE, and to this fruitful collaboration that I hope will last for a long time and will continue to attract hundreds of thousands of passengers between our two countries.”

DB and SNCB/NMBS are extending their successful partnership on the Brussels ICE line for another five years. SNCB is responsible for operating the ICE to Brussels on the Belgian section of the route and also offers onward travel options in its own country. It is also a partner for ticket sales and customer service.

Starting in 2024, the ICE 3neo will carry passengers between Germany and Belgium. The new ICE has 439 seats and offers even more space and comfort for passengers; this includes frequency-transparent windows for stable mobile phone reception, eight bicycle spaces in each train, newly designed luggage racks, lighting with colour tones that change depending on the time of day, tablet holders on the seats and power points at all seats, including in coach class. Extra doors speed up boarding and disembarking at stations. A new lift facilitates access for wheelchair users.

DB currently offers a total of seven direct connections per day in each direction between Frankfurt/Main and Brussels. The journey time of around three hours is unrivalled. In addition, there is also a pair of trains on Sunday evening that connects Brussels and Cologne even after 8 pm.

More information on ICE services to and from Belgium is available at

You can find photos of the event starting at 6 pm here.

Further information on Deutsche Bahn's international long distance transport services:

Traveling across Europe with Deutsche Bahn's international long distance transport services and partner rail operators

Take direct trains daily from Germany to around 200 European cities • Intercity-Express (ICE) trains travel to five European countries • Cheap travel on the (Super) Sparpreis Europa saver fare

(Berlin, November 2022) Comfortable, fast, safe and environmentally friendly travel: traveling couldn't be easier than by rail, especially over long distances. Say goodbye to traffic jams, stress, expensive refueling breaks and vignettes. The international range of long distance passenger transport services offered by Deutsche Bahn (DB) is impressive. International long distance trains provide daily, direct and comfortable transport from Germany to about 200 European destinations, all day and all night with ICE, Intercity/Eurocity, TGV, ECE, Railjet or Nightjet. In addition, there are numerous rail links with stress-free transfers, especially via the hubs at Frankfurt am Main, Cologne, Munich, Berlin, Stuttgart and Hamburg, which have rapid ICE links and lead directly to Europe's most beautiful cities and vacation regions.

This offer is supplemented by additional direct service on weekends and seasonal vacation trains.

Every day, more than 50,000 passengers use the over 250 running movements on the equivalent of 120,000 seats on international long distance transport services, 50 percent of which are on the ICE and other high-speed trains.

DB currently offers ICE rail links to five countries in cooperation with partner rail operators: Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Over 50 pairs of trains to Switzerland every day

Switzerland is the neighboring country with the best rail connections to Germany. For many years already, collaboration with SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) has ensured a comprehensive service schedule between the two countries. In total, there are currently over 100 running movements a day between Germany and Switzerland.

For example, 25 direct trains per day travel from Frankfurt am Main to Basel in less than three hours. 12 ICE trains run daily between the cities of Frankfurt am Main and Zurich, which are less than four hours apart. On the Stuttgart-Singen-Zurich Gäubahn rail line, there are 7 IC trains in each direction to the center of Zurich. If you prefer to breathe fresh mountain air instead of city air, you can take a direct ICE several times a day either from Berlin to Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland or from Hamburg to Chur in Graubünden.

Since the new Gotthard Base Tunnel began full service in December 2016, journeys to southern Switzerland with a transfer in Zurich have been significantly faster: Lago Maggiore can be reached around 30 minutes faster via Locarno. For passengers heading to Bellinzona at the center of Ticino, the journey time is even reduced by around 40 minutes. For passengers heading to northern Italy and Milan, the number of fast rail links via Basel will increase, as travelers will be able to choose trains through the Gotthard Base Tunnel in addition to the rail links via the Lötschberg. Since December 2017, there has also been a daily pair of trains between Frankfurt am Main and Milan via Lucerne / Bern.

Twelve SBB ECE trains have been running daily between Munich and Zurich since December 2020, with travel times reduced to three and a half hours since December 2021.

In addition, there is one daily rai link each with the "Nightjet" night trains of ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) between Berlin and Zurich, Hamburg and Zurich and between Amsterdam and Zurich.

More information at

Expanded direct service to Austria's most beautiful vacation regions

Deutsche Bahn is also ideally positioned for traffic to Austria, which is currently the third most popular foreign destination for Germans. Many of the most beautiful vacation destinations in the neighboring Alpine country can be reached easily and quickly by train – thanks to 35 daily running movements in each direction, especially via Munich, which is accessible from almost anywhere in Germany by ICE. In addition to the fast daytime ICE and EC rail links, the night IC between Vienna and Warnemünde via Berlin and the ÖBB Nightjet are also available.

For instance, ÖBB and DB operate 19 daily direct services to Vienna the Austrian capital: seven times with ÖBB Railjet in just under four hours from city to city from Munich via Salzburg, five times with the ICE from Frankfurt am Main via Nuremberg and Passau, one ICE from Hamburg and one ICE and one Railjet from Berlin. In addition, there is the ÖBB Nightjet, e.g. from Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin. Graz, Klagenfurt, Linz, Salzburg and Innsbruck are also easily and comfortably accessible by train thanks to daily direct service.

The train is also ideal for traveling to the mountains and lakes of Austria. Many of Austria's most beautiful vacation regions are easily accessible by train: the Wilder Kaiser, the Kitzbühel Alps, the Ötz and Ziller valleys, Zell am See, the Gastein valley, St. Anton am Arlberg, Seefeld, Schladming am Dachstein or Austria's southernmost lakes in Carinthia, such as Weissensee and Wörthersee. Many stations are located almost directly at the hiking trail, the valley station of mountain railways or directly at the lake. Rail passengers remain truly mobile in more and more regions of Austria with access to station shuttles, hiking buses, rental bicycles and many other local offerings, even without a car.

For more information visit and

From Frankfurt am Main and Stuttgart to Paris in record time

DB and SNCF (Société Nationale de Chemins de fer Français) currently offer a total of twelve running movements a day in each direction between France and Germany: six times from Frankfurt am Main to Paris. There are five running movements from Stuttgart, one of which is to/from Munich. The fastest connection is Stuttgart-Paris: the travel time for the 600 kilometers is around three hours. For ten years, one train each has been linking Frankfurt am Main to Marseille directly every day.

This is convincing more and more people to choose rail. Growing and attractive offerings have recently led to a clear trend in long distance transport between both countries: trains instead of flights – this was the choice of more than half of travelers on the Frankfurt am Main-Paris route in 2021, opting for rail travel. Between Stuttgart and Paris, the figure was as high as nine out of ten passengers. Passengers regularly praise the friendliness, language skills and competence of the mixed French-German on-board teams in surveys.

For more information visit and

From Frankfurt am Main and Berlin directly to Amsterdam

Between Frankfurt am Main and Amsterdam, there are up to eight ICE trains per day and direction, one of which already runs from/to Basel. The travel time between Frankfurt am Main and Amsterdam is around four hours.
Up to six Intercity trains per day and direction run between Berlin and Amsterdam. The travel time between Berlin and Amsterdam is around six and a half hours.

On the line between Berlin and Amsterdam, the ICE L will replace the Intercity trains in the future. The new trains offer ICE comfort with on-board restaurant, Wi-Fi and ICE portal. In addition, the trains are fully accessible and allow passengers with reduced mobility to board independently at most stations.

More information at

Fast ICE services between Frankfurt am Main and Brussels

Since April 2019, the ICE International has been running seven times per day and direction between Frankfurt am Main and Brussels. In addition, there is also a pair of trains on Sunday evenings that links Brussels with Cologne even after 8 pm.

The journey time is unrivaled: passengers can reach the Belgian capital from the Main metropolis in just around three hours without changing trains and without having to spend additional time checking in or making additional trips from the airport to the city center. From Cologne, the journey time to Brussels is only about one and three-quarter hours and from Aachen less than one and a quarter hours. The ICE is the only high-speed train that also stops at Brussels North station in Brussels, the major transport hub in the middle of Brussels' central business district. There, customers will be able to connect even faster with SNCB (Société Nationale de Chemins de fer Belges) trains bound for Antwerp and Brussels Airport.

Furthermore, there are also five coordinated connecting services on the Eurostar trains to and from London. The travel time from Cologne to the British capital is five and a quarter hours with a transfer in Brussels, and only four and a quarter hours in the opposite direction. These rail links are very well received.

Outlook: New vehicles for the Frankfurt am Main-Brussels and the Frankfurt am Main-Amsterdam lines

Some of the 73 newly procured ICE 3neo, class 408, will successively run on the Frankfurt am Main-Brussels route and on the Frankfurt am Main-Amsterdam line, replacing the existing class 406. This new train is equipped with numerous innovations for improved comfort. In addition to the number of seats increasing to 439 (99 of which are in 1st class and 340 in 2nd class), the ICE 3 neo offers frequency-transparent windows for stable reception, eight bicycle spaces in each train, additional doors for faster boarding and disembarking at stations, a separate door including an inbuilt wheelchair lift for boarding and disembarking passengers in wheelchairs, and even more comfort thanks to a new interior design. Its top speed of 320 km/h rounds it out perfectly.

More information at

Discover Scandinavian charm in Denmark and Sweden by train

There are three IC trips per day and direction between Hamburg and Copenhagen (in summer, two additional daytime pairs of trains and one night IC are offered). There are two IC trains per day and direction between Hamburg and Aarhus. When the Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link project is completed at the end of the 2020s, the travel time between Hamburg and Copenhagen will be significantly reduced to around two and three-quarter hours.

The route via Copenhagen is also the ideal connection for rail passengers traveling to Sweden. From here it is only a stone's throw across the Öresund Bridge to Malmö. For numerous destinations in southern Sweden such as Malmö, Gothenburg and Helsingborg, the Sparpreis Europa saver fare can be booked just as easily as for the capital Stockholm.

For more information visit and and and

From Berlin directly to the Polish Baltic Sea

The backbone of German-Polish rail links is the Eurocity service which is operated by DB and the Polish National Rail Company (PKP) and runs five times a day in each direction between Berlin and Warsaw via Poznań. A sixth pair of trains will be added to the service from December 2022.

There is another daily Eurocity rail link to Gdynia with a stop in Gdansk. This direct service is particularly popular with travelers in the summer months, as it gives them direct, convenient access to the influential Polish Baltic Sea tourism region from Berlin. The trip leads from the German capital via Frankfurt an der Oder and Poznań to the Polish coastal region of Trójmiasto (Tricity) with the city centers of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia.

There is one Eurocity rail link per day and direction between Berlin and Krakow via Wrocław and Katowice. The pair of trains travels beyond Kraków to Przemyśl on the border with Ukraine.

More information at

Travel to Prague often and in comfort

Seven times per day and direction, DB in partnership with the Czech National Rail Company (CD), uses modern and comfortable trains to link Berlin with Prague, the golden city on the Vltava River. The journey from the German to the Czech capital takes less than four and a half hours. Some of these trains run to/from Hamburg and Flensburg, and a pair of trains continues to Bratislava and Budapest, among other destinations. The trains on this route do not only connect European metropolises and cultures. The journey along unique natural landscapes such as Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland is an experience best enjoyed in the on-board restaurant with rustic Czech cuisine.

There is also a Railjet rail link between Berlin and Graz via Dresden, Prague and Vienna. From December 2022, daily morning and evening service on the Prague-Leipzig route with night train cars to Zurich will also be restarted. This pair of trains offers optimal travel times for a day trip to Prague. The night train creates a direct rail link between Saxony and Switzerland. 

More information at

Quickly to the most beautiful south - by train to Italy

DB, together with ÖBB and SBB, offers attractive direct service from Munich and Frankfurt am Main to northern Italy. This makes the most important tourist regions in South Tyrol, Trentino and Lake Garda, as well as northern Italian cities such as Milan, Verona, Venice and Bologna easily accessible for German rail passengers.

The DB-ÖBB Eurocity runs five times a day from Munich to Verona via the Brenner Pass, with three trains continuing to Bologna and one to Venice. On Saturdays and Sundays, two trains each run to Bologna and Venice. In the summer season, Rimini also has a direct daily connection from Munich, thus making rail travel a particularly relaxed option for families traveling to the Adriatic coast. Whether to Riccione or Igea Marina, from Rimini many other of the most beautiful beaches of the Adriatic can also be reached in a few minutes by train or bus. Travelers from Hamburg, Berlin or North Rhine-Westphalia often reach Italy faster by rail than by road. The ICE travels rapidly from many places in Germany to Munich. From there you can be in South Tyrol in just three hours. In addition to the fast ICE and EC rail links during the day, there are also direct night ICE and IC services from North Rhine-Westphalia, northern Germany and Hesse to Munich. ÖBB Nightjets to Venice, Milan and Rome also depart daily from there.

In Bologna, there is a connection to the Trenitalia high-speed network to Florence, Rome and Naples, as well as Rimini, Ancona and Pescara. Direct tickets from Germany to Florence, Rome, Naples and Pescara can be purchased at attractive prices in Germany at all Deutsche Bahn sales points and online at

In South Tyrol, DB continues to offer its passengers a "South Tyrol extension ticket" for the day of arrival for only five euros. This ticket is valid on all buses, funiculars and the Rittner tram. 

For more information visit and

Boundless affordability: the Sparpreis Europa saver fare

With the (Super) Sparpreis Europa saver fare, Deutsche Bahn offers one-way trips starting at €19.90 in 2nd class and €29.90 in 1st class to Belgium, Denmark, France (Paris, Strasbourg, all stations on the Frankfurt am Main–Marseille route), Italy (selected stations, including stations in South Tyrol and such tourist hotspots as Verona, Bologna and Venice), Croatia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary. BahnCards 25 and 50 offer an additional 25 percent discount on the German section of the (Super) Sparpreis Europa saver fare. The (Super) Sparpreis Europa saver fare is valid only on the train selected. Subject to availability, the (Super) Sparpreis Europa saver fare can be booked up to the day of departure. (Super) Sparpreis Europa saver fare and Flexpreis Europa fare can be booked up to 180 days in advance.

Overview at

The best rail destinations in Europe

What does summer have in store, where are you headed in winter? Breathing deeply in nature, cooling off by the water, skiing in the mountains or experiencing pulsating vitality in a city? Which destinations in Europe are even suitable for travel by train and have good local mobility options apart from cars?

Answers to these questions are the focus of and the portals for vacation destinations in Europe that are easily accessible by rail and offer attractive mobility options to travelers without cars & rental services.