The "Helvetia" was one of the founding members and thereby one of the veterans of the TEE trains. From the start of the TEE network on June 2, 1957, it connected Northern Germany with Switzerland. Initially, the new class VT 11.5 TEE diesel powered rail cars were available for this route. On April 12, 1965, the Helvetia moved up to the first locomotive-hauled TEE trains in Germany. At first, the fast E 10.12 served as the preferred motive power between Hamburg and Basle SBB. If they were not available, the normal E 10 was also used. Starting in 1971 the new class 103.1 express locomotives took on this task. From Basle SBB the Swiss Re 4/4 II in a TEE paint scheme powered the train. The route of the TEE 72/73 "Helvetia" was as follows: Hamburg-Altona - Hamburg-Dammtor - Hamburg Hbf - Hannover - Göttingen - Frankfurt/M - Mannheim - Karlsruhe - Baden Oos - Freiburg (Breisgau) - Basle Bad - Basle SBB - Zürich Hbf. A change of locomotives had to be done in Frankfurt (Main) Hbf as a stub end terminal as well as in Mannheim Hbf (change of direction). The TEE "Helvetia" ran for the last time on May 26, 1979, since the DB had introduced the dual class "IC-79" system for the change of schedules with the slogan "Every hour – every class". It was not until the summer schedule of 1987 that there was a train again with the same name in the form of the EuroCity 79/78 Hamburg – Zürich. It was replaced in the schedule in 1993/94 by the ICE 71/70 "Helvetia" with the same route.