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 stations only.

The term originated in the United Kingdom, with the InterCity sector of British Rail. Following the privatisation of the railways in Great Britain 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. 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, Ljunjana and Zagrab)

Vienna Southern Train Station - Wiener Neustadt - Sopron - Csorna

Vienna Southern Train Station - Breclav (trains are operating as EC or D for Brno, Praha, Krakow, Warsaw and Berlin)

Vienna Western Train Station - Linz - Salzburg (trains are operating from 5am to 10pm, 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 - Bischofshofen - Innsbruck (1 train per day, additional trains as ÖBBEC to Bregenz and as EN to Zurich)

Klagenfurt - Villach - Bischofshofen - Salzburg Main Station (trains operating every 2 hours, services running to Munich, Dortmund, Zagreb)

Innsbruck - Bregenz (service is running for Stuttgart and Dortmund)

Graz Main Station - Klagenfurt (Service is operating as InterCity Bus till the Koralmbahn will be 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, Bad Gastein, Bad Hofgastein, Sportgastein, Schwarzach-St.Veit, St.Johann im Pongau, Bischofshofen, Werfen, Golling-Abtenau, Salzburg Süd, Salzburg HBF


The InterCity trains links all major cities of Belgium. Some of them serve also destinations outside the country. The IC between Liège and Brussels is travelling at 200 km/h on the HSL 2.

Czech Republic

In Czech Republic IC trains services route Prague - Ostrava 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 Bohumin - Budapest. No surcharge is applied to IC trains.


The Intercity network of the Danish State Railways 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 Odense-Århus-Ålborg, 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 Odense and alternately Esbjerg/Sønderborg. 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, but they have only been driving test drives so far.


In Finland, 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, is 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. The IC cars have separate ventilated smoking cabins instead of smokers' compartments.


In Germany, 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 Germany. 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:
* Budapest-Keleti– Miskolc-Tiszai–DebrecenBudapest-Nyugati (Kör/Circle-IC, 2 óránként/per 2 hours)
* Budapest-Keleti–Miskolc-Tiszai (2 óránként)
* Budapest-Nyugati–Nyíregyháza (2 óránként/per 2 hours)
* Budapest-Nyugati–Szeged (óránként/per hour)
* Budapest-Keleti–GyőrSopron és Szombathely (4 óránként/per 4 hours)
* Budapest-Keleti–Pécs (2-3 óránként/2-3 hours)
* Budapest-Keleti–Nagykanizsa és Keszthely (Kanizsa-Zala IC, Mura-Helikon IC)
* Budapest-Déli–KaposvárNagykanizsa (Somogy IC)
* Budapest-Keleti–BékéscsabaTimisoara /Tirgu Mures (Körös IC, Traianus IC, Maros/Mures IC, Ister EN(Euronight))

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


In the Republic of Ireland, 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 Dublin and Cork, Galway, Limerick, Waterford, Sligo, Westport, Rosslare, Ballina, and Ennis, as well as some regional services. A new InterCity logo was introduced in 2003, though as of July 2007 the vast majority of rolling stock still bears the original script logo and orange-tan livery.

Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnrod Éireann both formerly operated trains on the Dublin - Belfast 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 country. 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 Eaest in the North, connecting Turin, Milan, Venice, Trieste and Po river plain provinces.The fleet consists in first a second class wagons, generally divided in six seats compartments. The new wagons, called InterCity Plus, have renovated interiors and a richer equipment, like sockets fro PC or mobile phones.

The Netherlands

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, though Nederlandse Spoorwegen acquired a number of ex-DB express coaches for locomotive-hauled services.


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

*Warsaw - Cracow with speed up to 160 km/h.
*Warsaw - Katowice - Bielsko Biala with speed up to 160 km/h
*Warsaw - Katowice - Gliwice with speed up to 160 km/h
*Warsaw - Poznan - Wroclaw with speed up to 160 km/h
*Warsaw - Katowice - Opole - Wroclaw with speed up to 160 km/h
*Warsaw - Poznan - Szczecin with speed up to 160 km/h
*Warsaw - Gdansk - Gdynia with speed up to 160 km/h
*Warsaw - Deblin - Lublin (until 2002) with speed up to 140 km/h
*Gdynia - Warsaw - Cracow with speed up to 160 km/h
*Gdynia - Warsaw - Gliwice with speed up to 160 km/h

These trains mostly use the locomotive named EP09, sometimes EP07

There is also a Deutsche Bahn InterCity train servicing the route:
* Szczecin - Berlin - Amsterdam Zuid WTC - Schiphol


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

*Lisboa - Coimbra - Porto - guimarães(where they complement the [Alfa Pendular] high speed trains on a one per hour shedule) , corail coaches at 200km/h
*Lisboa - Coimbra - guarda , tree trains a day with corail coaches at 200km/h
*Lisboa - Entroncamento - Castelo Branco - Covilhã , tree trains a day with sorefame "refurbished" coaches at 160km/h
*Lisboa - Faro , tree (or four in weekends) complemented by two daily Alfa Pendular runs each way Aditionaly there are some InterCidades trains run with diesel power ( [cp1930] locomotives) to Evora and Beja.


Currently InterCity lines link the capital Bucharest to Arad, Oradea, Cluj Napoca, Suceava, Constanta and Timisoara.A high-confort InterCity network (The Blue Line) connects Bucharest with Iasi, Brasov, Galati, Pitesti, Craiova, Mangalia, Tulcea and also functions between the following cities: Cluj Napoca-Arad-Timisoara, Cluj Napoca-Sibiu, Cluj Napoca-Satu Mare, Sibiu-Craiova, Sibiu-Brasov, Sibiu-Timisoara, Resita-Timisoara, Cluj Napoca-Bistrita. []


Swiss InterCity services started in 1982, replacing the Swiss Express on the line Geneva-St. Gallen. As there is no surcharge for express services in Switzerland and rolling stock is mostly the same as on InterRegio services, there is little difference between IC and ordinary services. Some 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 Cornwall to Scotland. If travelling via London it is often necessary to change stations: a journey from Norwich to Cardiff would require a transfer from London Liverpool Street to London Paddington station.

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


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