Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Mag Lev Accident in Germany Kills 25

A mag lev in Germany traveling at 125 miles an hour hit a service vehicle left on the track and 25 people were killed. This unfortunate tragedy will not stop the development of this unique technology. Magnetic levitation trains have no wheels or axles and work by inducing opposite magnetic forces in the train and track to make the train hover and propel it at speeds up to 280 miles per hour. They are expensive to build and operate though. The only commercial use of the train is in Shangai, China. That line, completed in 2004, is 20 miles long and runs from Pudog International Airport to Shanghai in eight minutes.

The German train runs as a demonstration about four times per week between Doerpen and Lathen near the Dutch border. The demonstration is to show off German technology. The train was manufactured by Transrapid International, a joint company of Siemens AG and ThyssenKrupp AG. The track is operated by Munich-based IABG.

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