- Part 1: Cheap way to book your European train tickets
- Part 2: Ebbsfleet International Review
- Part 3: Eurostar London to Brussels Review
- Part 4: Brussels Midi Station Review
- Part 5: Intercity Express (ICE) Brussels to Frankfurt Review, this blog article.
When we arrived at the platform at the upper level, the InterCity Express highspeed train was waiting at the platform. The boarding doors were still closed with the information displayed on each train door about the train final destination, departure time and the coach number. We stood in front of our coach waiting for the door to open. The door opened only about six minutes before the departure and we had only about six minutes to board the train with all our languages.
InterCity Express Boarding Process
In addition to our family, only about 4 or 5 families were standing in front of our coach for boarding. Since we were first in line as soon as the doors opened, we boarded the train. The InterCity Express had only a small storage area for storing your bags, unlike the Eurostar highspeed train which had the baggage storage area right after the doors the InterCity Express storage area was in the middle of the train. Also, only one baggage storage area per coach was available compared to four per coach available in the Eurostar trains.
We have to carry all our six pieces of luggage to the middle of the coach to store them. Since the storage area was small I have to take a couple of pieces of my luggage to the next coach for storage. In addition to the heavy baggage storage area, there was a storage area available running along the top of the seating area where you can keep your carry on languages.
The storage area was small as well as the location of storage area was difficult to access. If you are planning to use InterCity Express for your travel, plan on traveling light.
The seating area was nice and way better than the older model Eurostar trains. We were traveling through the ICE 3 train set which is not the newer model but the seating area was better than the Eurostar trains when we traveled from London to Brussels.
Just like the Eurostar half of the seat faced in the direction of the train movement and the other half in the opposite direction. The middle row there are two pairs of seats facing each other with a nice table in between the seats.
Since we had a reserved seating we went to our seating area but found someone was already seated in those seats and they told us we can seat anywhere. Since the coach was half empty we did not bother them and we picked up another open seat.
Later when I talked to that person he told me the seat reservation is not required and we can seat anywhere, but a seat reservation is preferred during the high season travel so that the family can sit together if they have reserved seats. Since the seat reservation costs around €5 he said no one bothers to spend money on reserving a seat, they sit anywhere they can find an open seat.
The train can travel at a top speed of 320 km/h (200 m/h), but due to some track maintenance, the train was going only at the top speed of 250 km/h (156 mph).
Food and Cafeteria Car
Unlike Eurostar in the InterCity Express, the attendant from cafeteria car comes and servers beverages which you can purchase them from your seats instead of going to the cafeteria car. He also takes orders and brings the food to the passengers.
You can pay using cash (Euro) or credit card, but when I tried to pay using the credit card, the cashier insisted I need to purchase a minimum of €5 worth of food items to pay for the transaction using the credit card.
First Class Seating Area
The first class seating area was closer to the train engineer’s cabin, the first three coaches after the engineer cabin is for the first class. Unlike the second class, the first class seating area had only three seats per row with much more leg space between each seat.
Unlike the second class, the first class seats were made of leather. From the door leading to the first class area to the engineer’s cabin, you can see the train control area as well as get the engineer’s vision of the train journey. At the time of taking photograph, I did not realize the photography of the engineer’s cabin was prohibited, only after coming to the USA and downloading the pictures I found out the no photography sign posted in the engineer’s cabin door.
In addition to the chief train engineer, there was another backup engineer was sitting in the driver’s cabin, this is a precaution in case something happens to the chief engineer the backup engineer will take over the train control.
Quite Car Seating Area
In addition to the regular first class, the InterCity Express had a quiet car with glass doors. If you want a peaceful place to work or read a book during your journey it is a must, you book the quite car seating area. Cellphone talk as well as extensively taking in the quiet car is prohibited. An ideal option for anyone who is traveling on business and wants to get some work done during their trip. But the quiet seating area was empty and no was seating in that area. The quite compartment car option is available for both first as well as second class seating.
Restrooms and Area Inbetween the Coaches
The restrooms were spacious, much bigger than the average size restrooms you find in the airplane economy class.
There was a large area of space between each coach, I think InterCity express should have used some part of the space for building language racks. The only benefit of the large space you can stage your luggage before your stop comes and it will be easy to leave the train if you are getting down to stations other than the final stop.
There was a digital display, close to the doors showing the train speed as well as the next station name and expected arrival time.
The train had a power output where you can charge your portable device, also the train had a WIFI facility. But I was not able to connect to the wifi and check out the speed of the wifi. To connect to the website you need to use the Bahn website, but for some reason, I kept getting an error message leading to conclude there was some issue with the wifi and it was not available during our journey.
Passing Scenes outside of Train
Arrival at Frankfurt Aiport Station
We arrived the Frankfurt Airport station stop, which was the penultimate stop before the final stop Frankfurt HBF main station. Since we were already pre-staged our luggage near the door we were able to leave the train quickly.
We took the escalator to arrive at one level above and came at the walkway to the entrance of the airport. From the entrance of the airport, you can go to all the gates, or you can leave the airport to catch your transportation to arrive at your hotel or you can use the metro local transport train facility to reach your ultimate destination.
Since I had a reservation at a hotel closer to the airport I checked with the airport personnel found out where the hotel courtesy shuttle will stop. We went down a couple of levels and arrived at the hotel shuttle parking area to catch our hotel courtesy shuttle.
Overall the train trip was great, it took 2h and 45m to travel between Brussels and Frankfurt Airport Station. By traveling using the train, we were able to avoid the airport delays and able to get down our destination in a nice comfortable ride.
Photo Credit: Editor PointsGate.com