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Seat rebuild for ICE 4 and ICE 3 trains to start in March

February 2020

These new seats are the result of customer feedback.
Photo: DB AG / O. Lang

Comfort plays an important role when travelling, complementing punctuality and reliability. The findings of customer feedback on the seats in the German ICE 4 and the modernized ICE 3 high-speed trains were all the more thought-provoking: too hard, seating surfaces too short, insufficient freedom of movement in the head and shoulder areas.

This made it clear that further development is needed to take into account the main criticisms of the users, in order to improve passenger comfort. A new approach was chosen for this: The seat manufacturer Clerprem Deutschland GmbH, the German subsidiary of the Italian Clerprem SpA, cooperated with the Ergonomics Institute Munich and developed three prototypes and had 600 test persons try them out in the seat laboratory. The result: all three prototypes were rated better than the original seats.

Subsequently, new seats were installed in two ICE trains in regular service and 5,800 passengers were interviewed – one of the prototype alternatives won the race.

The changes in detail

The most fundamental change to the new seats is a significantly softer seat foam including a new ‘memory foam’ support in the seat and backrest upholstery. In addition, optimised cushions have been provided for a better resting position in the neck area and overall more freedom of movement in the lower back due to fewer contours in the lumbar region was given. Further feedback from customer surveys: In the case of the 2nd class seats, a further three centimetres were added to the adjustment system compared to the criticised seats. In 1st class, the effective seat surface was increased by three centimetres. The armrests of the seats in both classes were given a genuine leather cover and better upholstery. Pillows have also been improved and newly designed pillowcases that have been tested with customers will also be installed.

From domestic production

The seats will be manufactured at the Clerprem Deutschland GmbH plant in Neustadt, Saxony, and a total of just under 60,000 seats will be installed in the modernised ICE 3 and ICE 4 trains from March 2020 onwards. The order has a volume of around 40 million Euros and should be completed by the end of 2021. Then nothing will stand in the way of comfortable seating on rail journeys.

Clerprem Hall 1.1 | 440

All improvements at a glance.
Graphic: DB AG