In June 1997 the second generation of high-speed trains of the “Deutsche Bahn AG” was put on the rails: The conception of these trains of the series 402 is completely different to the former “ICE 1” trains. For example, an “ICE 2” can start in Berlin as a long train and be divided into two trains in Hannover, whereby the one half would go to Bremen and the other half to Cologne. This flexibility makes it possible to serve less frequented lines more economically. By adapting to the capacity, the energy consumption per traveler sinks. Automatic coupling with the railcar and the steering carriage makes it possible for a rapid changing and connecting of the “half-trains”, which each comprise of 7 carriages (the railcar, the centre carriages and the steering carriage).
A half-train is 205.52 m long, the whole train twice as long. The railcars, which together have a capacity of 9,600 kW, make it possible for the train to travel a top speed of 280 km/h. The power supply of the engine works independent of the direction via the front railcar or steering carriage. The new ICE weighs 5 tons per carriage less than the old ICE generation; this reduction in weight has a positive influence on energy consumption and wear and tear. Thanks to air suspension, the new ICE travels more smoothly and more quietly than before. The braking distance at a speed of 250 km/h is 4,800 m. In a half-train there are 105 seats in the 1st class, and 263 seats in the 2nd class.