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InterCity (commonly abbreviated IC on timetables and tickets) is the classification applied to certain long-distance passenger train services in Europe. Such trains (in contrast to regional, local, or commuter trains) generally call at major station only.

The term originated in the United Kingdommarker, with the introduction in 1950 of a daily train of that name running in Englandmarker between the cities of Londonmarker and Birminghammarker. This usage can claim to be the origin of all later usages world-wide.

In 1966 British Rail introduced the brand InterCity for all of its express train routes, and in 1986 the term was adopted by the InterCity sector of British Rail. Following the privatisation of the railways in Great Britainmarker the term is no longer in official use there, although many people still refer to fast long-distance services as InterCity trains.

The German Bundesbahn first used the name (then written Intercity) in 1968, denominating special first-class services on the F train network. Many of the Class VT 11.5 diesel multiple units formerly used on the TEE network were converted for early Intercity services.

In Switzerland, the InterCity replaced the SwissExpress with the 1982 schedule.

An international variant of the InterCity are the EuroCity (EC) trains which were introduced in May 1987. EuroCity trains consist of high-standard, air conditioned coaches and are usually subject to on-board border controls. EuroCity trains are run by a variety of operators, for example EuroCity trains running in Germany can be made up by rolling stock of either the SBB (Switzerland), ÖBB (Austria) and the SNCF (France), but also less commonly by the Czech ČD and the Hungarian MÁV.

InterCity by country


The ÖBB operate IC services. However, contrary to most other countries, these services are often little more than regional trains, as most long-distance, high-standard trains in Austria are likely to be EuroCity services, even when not leaving the Austrian borders. Modernised stock is used under the brand name ÖBB-IC on the Westbahn.

IC-Services by June 2008:

  • Vienna Southern Train Station–Bruck/Mur–Klagenfurt–Villach (all 2 hours with several trains running as ÖBBEC)
  • Vienna Southern Train Station–Bruck/Mur–Graz Main Station (all 2 hours with several trains running as ÖBBEC, 4 trains heading to Maribor, Ljubljana and Zagreb)
  • Vienna Southern Train Station–Wiener Neustadt–Sopron–Csorna
  • Vienna Southern Train Station–Břeclav (trains are operating as EC or D for Brno, Praha, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin)
  • Vienna Western Train Station–Linz–Salzburg (trains are operating from 5 am to 10 pm, hourly)
  • Linz Main Station–Selzthal–Leoben–Graz Main Station (2 trains operating in peak hours)
  • Graz Main Station–Selzthal–Bischofshofen–Salzburg Main Station (4 trains per day).
  • Graz Main Station–Leoben–Bischofshofen–Schwarzach‒St. Veit–Innsbruck (1 train per day, additional trains as ÖBBEC to Bregenz and as EN to Zurich).
  • Klagenfurt–(Beograd/Zagreb–)Villach–Bischofshofen–Salzburg Main Station (trains operating every 2 hours, services running to Munich and Dortmund)
  • Innsbruck–Bregenz (service is running for Stuttgart and Dortmund).
  • Graz Main Station–Klagenfurt (Service is operating as InterCity Bus till the Koralmbahn is opened)

The InterCity Service from Vienna to Salzburg is going to be expanded for an hourly service to Landeck via Innsbruck by December 2008. Also, the Service from Vienna to Graz is going to operate hourly by December 2008.

InterCity stops in Austria:

  • Westbahn: Wien Westbahnhof, Wien Hütteldorf, St. Pölten HBF, Amstetten, St. Valentin, Linz HBF, Wels HBF, Attnag-Puchheim, Vöcklabruck, Salzburg HBF
  • Südbahn: Wien Südbahnhof, Wien Meidling, Wiener Neustadt HBF, Mürzzuschlag, Bruck an der Mur, Frohnleiten, Graz HBF, Wildon, Leibnitz, Spielfeld-Straß
  • Line from Bruck an der Mur to Villach: Bruck an der Mur, Leoben HBF, Knittelfeld, Zeltweg, Judenburg, Unzmarkt, Friesach in Kärnten, Treibach-Althofen, St.Veit an der Glan, Klagenfurt HBF, Krumpendorf am Wörthersee, Pörtschach am Wörthersee, Velden am Wörthersee, Villach HBF
  • Line from Villach to Salzburg: Villach HBF, Spittal-Millstättersee, Mallnitz-Obervellach, Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein, Dorfgastein, Schwarzach-St.Veit, St.Johann im Pongau, Bischofshofen, Werfen, Golling-Abtenau, Hallein, Salzburg Süd, Salzburg HBF


InterCity trains link all major cities of Belgium. Some of them serve also destinations outside the country. The IC between Liègemarker and Brusselsmarker travels at 200 km/h on the HSL 2.
InterCity between Roosendaal and Brussels South

Czech Republic

In Czech Republicmarker IC trains services route PraguemarkerOstravamarker with speed up to 160 km/h. On this route they jointly with "Supercity Pendolino" trains completely replaced daily express trains. One pair of IC trains is also operated on route BohuminmarkerBudapestmarker. No surcharge is applied to IC trains.


The Intercity network of the Danish State Railwaysmarker consists of IC trains and their faster version, Lyntog (Lightning Train), which is identical but with less stops. Each train type operates hourly between the eastern terminus at Copenhagen and westwards to Odensemarker-Århusmarker-Ålborgmarker, and less frequently to alternative destinations in Jutland. These are run by IC3 diesel materiel since most of the network is not electrified. There are also electrical IC trains run by IR4s in an hourly schedule from Copenhagen westwards to Odensemarker and alternately Esbjergmarker/Sønderborgmarker. This means during most of the day there are three trains an hour between Copenhagen and Odense. Uniquely in the world, some trains will consist of both electrically and diesel-powered units coupled together. Being the only option for long-distance and some short-distance travel, there is no surcharge for IC and Lyntog. They have a maximum speed of 180 km/h. Additionally, there a few IR trains during Friday and Sunday peak hours between Copenhagen and Århus. These are locomotive-run and have bilevel cars. The IC3 trains are planned to be replaced by new IC4 trains, originally in 2001. They first ran with passengers in 2008, but haven't nearly replaced the IC3 yet.


In Finlandmarker, VR (e.g.. Helsinki–Tampere–Oulu–Rovaniemi, Helsinki–Turku, Helsinki–Iisalmi and Helsinki–Joensuu). The maximum speed of the trains is 140–200 km/h. Additional surcharge compared to ordinary express trains is, according to length of the travel, 17—27%. VR uses the notation InterCity. An InterCity train can be recognized from red-white colour scheme. VR is planning to make InterCity trains as the Finnish long distance rail travel mainstay, and their predecessors, express trains, are being withdrawn off the schedules.

Only the Pendolino trains are faster than InterCity trains in Finland.

VR operated both ordinary InterCity trains (IC) and double-decker trains (IC²). An ordinary IC train consists of 3 to 4 double-decker cars and 3 to 5 ordinary IC cars. In addition the train has a restaurant car. IC² train consists only of double-decker cars and has no separate restaurant car. IC2 trains operated lines between (Helsinkimarker-Turkumarker), (Helsinkimarker-Tamperemarker-Jyväskylämarker),(Helsinkimarker-Kouvolamarker) and (Turkumarker-Tamperemarker). The IC cars have separately ventilated smoking cabins instead of smokers' compartments and IC2 trains are smoke-free.


In Germanymarker, the InterCity network was launched in 1971 to accompany and eventually replace the Trans Europ Express trains. At first, IC services were first-class only, often using TEE stock and the then-new Class 103 locomotives. Trains ran bi-hourly.

In 1978, it was decided to expand the IC network to services with both first and second class, and so the new scheme, called IC '79 was launched in 1979 with the motto "Jede Stunde, jede Klasse" ("every hour, every class") to emphasize its new structure. Large numbers of air-conditioned open coach cars, the Bpmz 291, were built for InterCity services, which at first were using the TEE colour scheme.In 1985, with many of the TEE trains gone and the introduction of the InterRegio, the network was expanded again, now covering virtually any major city of then-West Germanymarker. It faced further changes after the German reunification and the introduction of the InterCityExpress in the early 1990s.

Today, after the abolition of the InterRegio in 2002, most long distance connections in Germany are either IC or ICE trains; they most commonly offer at least an hourly service. Maximum speed for an IC is 200 km/h.


Intercity train services in Hungary:

The Hungarian intercity trains are operated by MAV-START , the Hungarian railway company.


In the Republic of Irelandmarker, Iarnrod Éireann introduced the brand name InterCity in 1987, replacing the previous name of Mainline. Initially applied to services operated by British Rail Mark 3 trains, it was later extended to include all services not part of the Dublin Suburban Rail network. Today the brand encompasses services between Dublinmarker and Corkmarker, Galwaymarker, Limerickmarker, Waterfordmarker, Sligomarker, Westportmarker, Rosslare, Ballina, and Ennismarker, as well as some regional services. A new InterCity logo was introduced in 2006, though as of July 2007 the vast majority of rolling stock still bears the original script logo and orange-tan livery. By the time Ireland completes its replacement of the old Mk2 and Mk3 stock it will have the most modern intercity fleet in the world.

Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnrod Éireann both formerly operated trains on the DublinmarkerBelfastmarker line under the InterCity brand, however this was replaced with the revived Enterprise brand name upon the introduction of the De Dietrich Ferroviaire rolling stock in 1997. This, coupled with the subsequent withdrawal of most coaching stock bearing the logo and the rebrand to the Translink name, means that the InterCity brand has largely disappeared from Northern Ireland Railways.


In Italy InterCity trains constitute a capillary net that links the main cities of the countrymarker. The fundamental lines run from North to South, skirting Thyrrenian and Adriatic seas, linking cities like Milan, Turin, Genoa, Venice and Bologna with Florence, Rome, Naples, Bari, Reggio Calabria and Palermo, and from West to East in the North, connecting Turin, Milan, Venice, Trieste and Po river plain provinces.The fleet consists in first and second class wagons, generally divided in six seats compartments. The new wagons, called InterCity Plus, have renovated interiors and a richer equipment, like sockets for PC or mobile phones.


Trains denoted as IC services are commonplace in the Netherlands, but due to the geographical situation of the country they call at stations rather often, and are more similar to regional services of other countries than to a true intercity link. Rolling stock most commonly seen is the Koploper (called Intercitymaterieel or Plan Z) multiple unit, as well as the IRM double decker trains, though Nederlandse Spoorwegen acquired a number of ex-DB express coaches for locomotive-hauled services.

See also types of train service in the Nederlands.


In Polandmarker IC trains operated by PKP Intercity S.A. service the following routes:

  • Warsaw–Kraków with speed up to 160 km/h.
  • Warsaw–Katowice–Bielsko-Biała with speed up to 160 km/h
  • Warsaw–Katowice–Gliwice with speed up to 160 km/h
  • Warsaw–Poznań–Wrocław with speed up to 160 km/h
  • Warsaw–Katowice–Opole–Wroclaw with speed up to 160 km/h
  • Warsaw–Poznań–Szczecin with speed up to 160 km/h
  • Warsaw–Gdańsk–Gdynia with speed up to 160 km/h
  • Warsaw–Deblin–Lublin (until 2002) with speed up to 140 km/h
  • Gdynia–Warsaw–Kraków with speed up to 160 km/h
  • Gdynia–Warsaw–Gliwice with speed up to 160 km/h
  • Szczecin–Berlin–Amsterdam Zuid WTC–Schiphol (jointly operated by PKP Intercity and Deutsche Bahn)

It should be noted that, apart from a single railway line (line nr 4, aka Centralna Magistrala Kolejowa–Central Railway Route), average speeds are much lower.

These trains mostly use the locomotive named EP09, sometimes EP07


In Portugal InterCidades trains operated by state onwed CP run in the following routes:

  • Lisbon–Coimbra–Porto–Guimarães (where they complement the [Alfa Pendular] high-speed trains on a one-per-hour schedule), corail coaches at 200km/h
  • Lisbon–Coimbra–Guarda, three trains a day with corail coaches at 200 km/h
  • Lisbon–Entroncamento–Castelo Branco–Covilhã , three trains a day with refurbished coaches at 160km/h
  • Lisbon–Faro, three (or four in weekends) complemented by two daily Alfa Pendular runs each way
Additionaly there are some InterCidades trains run with diesel power ([cp1930] locomotives) to Evora and Beja.


Currently InterCity lines link the capital Bucharestmarker to Arad, Oradeamarker, Cluj-Napocamarker, Suceavamarker, Constanţamarker and Timişoaramarker.

A high-comfort InterCity network (The Blue Line) connects Bucharest with Iaşimarker, Braşovmarker, Galaţimarker, Piteştimarker, Craiovamarker, Mangaliamarker, Tulceamarker and also functions between the following cities: Cluj-Napoca-Arad-Timişoara, Cluj-Napoca-Sibiumarker, Cluj-Napoca-Satu Maremarker, Sibiu-Craiovamarker, Sibiu-Braşov, Sibiu-Timişoara, Reşiţamarker-Timişoara, Cluj-Napoca-Bistriţamarker.


In Slovak Republicmarker InterCity trains running between capital Bratislavamarker and Košicemarker (some trains continue from Bratislava to Viennamarker). Names of some of these trains are sold for commercial use (IC 402/403 Šariš named by beer producent, IC 500/501 Zelmer named by electric devices producer and IC 511 Slovenka named by magazine). There is currently only one non-sold InterCity name on this route - IC 404/405 Tatran. These train are subject of compulsory reservation which cost 66 cents or 2,65 (depending on travel day) to make comfort as high as possible. There is also InterCity surcharge 1,32€. Reservation is not neccesarry between Bratislava and Vienna. Surcharge is not neccesarry when passenger travel with international ticket.

There are also 3 other InterCity services: IC 400/407 Donau (Danube) between Bratislava and Vienna, IC 532/533 Rákoczi from Košice to Budapestmarker and IC 536/537 Hornádmarker from Košice to Pécsmarker. On this train passengers can travel without reservation or surcharge, since it's impossible to use them for domestic transport in Slovakia.

All InterCity trains are served only with modernised or new comfortable wagons which are fully airconditioned. Only exception are IC 536/537 services which contain some old Polish wagons to Krakowmarker.

On all trains, first class is available and restaurant car is available on all IC trains except IC 532/533.


Swiss InterCity services started in 1982, replacing the Swiss Express on the line Geneva-St. Gallen. There is no surcharge for InterCity services in Switzerland and rolling stock is in some cases the same as on InterRegio services. Other IC lines run with double-deck coaches as they see heavy usage by commuters. There also is a tilting train category called ICN.

United Kingdom

The term ”Inter-City“ was first used by state railway company British Rail in 1966, to brand all its longer-distance, higher-speed services (the hyphen was dropped shortly afterwards, changing the name to ”InterCity“). The brand was closely associated with a new design of carriage, the Mk2 which revolutionised levels of comfort on the system. The system was hugely successful and became one of the world's few profitable public railway services.

Today, after Britain's railways have been privatised, InterCity trains in the UK are operated by many different train companies including National Express East Anglia, CrossCountry, First Great Western, Virgin Trains, National Express and East Midlands Trains. Most of these companies operate their services from one of the many London terminuses, with CrossCountry being the exception, running from Cornwallmarker to Scotlandmarker. If travelling via Londonmarker it is often necessary to change stations: a journey from Norwichmarker to Cardiffmarker would require a transfer from London Liverpool Streetmarker to London Paddingtonmarker station.

The British Government have named their project to replace High Speed Trains as the Intercity Express Programme.

See also



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