Friday, March 28, 2008

Didn't get off the ground

In Bavaria, they're still down to earth:
The magnetic levitation (maglev) idea was patented as long ago as the 1930s. For the past four decades, Germany's best engineers have been working out the technical details.

But the Transrapid -- the monorail maglev system developed by Siemens and ThyssenKrupp that has trains speeding on a magnetic cushion at 500 kilometers an hour -- simply won't fly.

The decision announced Thursday to halt plans for a 37-kilometer link between Munich's airport and the city center may be the final nail in the coffin for the prestige project.

The federal German government and the state of Bavaria withdrew their financial backing when it became clear that costs were soaring towards 3 billion euros (4.6 billion dollars).

....The hope was that a successful Transrapid in Germany would provide the showcase necessary to market the high-speed technology to the rest of the world.

....After the Munich decision, the Transrapid appears set to follow the fate of the Zeppelin -- another German showpiece -- into the dustbin of exciting but failed high-tech.

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