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Munich Maglev moves closer to lift-off

02 October, 2007

Europe’s first commercial magnetically levitated (maglev) high-speed train service has moved a stage closer to reality with the signing of an agreement to build a 37km-long track between Munich airport and the city centre. Construction of the controversial €1.85bn scheme could start next year, with the first trains operating by 2012, cutting the journey time from 40 minutes at present, to just 10 minutes.

Munich Maglev

The German government has agreed to pay half of the cost of the project, with the state of Bavaria providing most of the rest. But the retiring Bavarian governor Edmund Stoiber, who has championed the scheme, admits that the plan depends on €50m of EU money coming – against strong objections in Brussels – from an infrastructure development budget that amounts to €150m a year for the whole of Europe.

Another potential problem is that the €1.85bn budget for the project is based on an estimate that is at least five years old, and this figure is expected to be exceeded.

If it goes ahead, the maglev line will be built by the Transrapid International consortium that includes Siemens and ThyssenKrupp. The only commercial high-speed maglev installation to date is a 30km-long line linking Shanghai city centre to its airport.




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