The introduction of the new trains, which have capacity for 465 seated passengers, including 70 in first-class, will result in the withdrawal of the two-hourly regional service between Stuttgart and Siegen in order to free up paths. However, passengers will still be able to use local tickets on the inter-city trains to Siegen at no extra charge.

DB says that despite stopping at intermediate stations along the route, the new trains will retain the existing three-hour Stuttgart - Zurich journey time. In addition, timetable changes proposed for December 2015 will improve connections from the new service at Stuttgart to Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, Nuremberg and Munich.

DB ordered 27 of the new trains, which consist of 5.6MW class 146.2 electric locomotive, a first class and three second-class intermediate double-deck coaches and a second class driving trailer, from Bombardier in a €362m contract signed in January 2011. In addition to the Stuttgart - Zurich route they will also be used on the Karlsruhe - Pforzheim - Stuttgart - Aalen - Nuremberg inter-city service.

The announcement was made during a ceremony held on February 6 attended by Mr Winfried Hermann, Baden-Württemberg minister of transport and infrastructure and Mr Berthold Huber, CEO of DB Fernverkehr.

"From 2017 our customers should expect a significant improvement on the [Stuttgart – Zurich main line], with more connections and new trains," Huber says. "The modern double-deck coaches will be comfortable in comparison with the current inter-city coach, especially for families and passengers with reduced mobility."