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Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility)

N 5252.257', E 720.945'
2019-04-07
Our rating: 4.80
Overall rating:
An unusual and tragic place that you can see if you are on the way. Perhaps everyone heard about magnetic levitation trains (maglev), they were developed in many countries. But there is only one commercial line so far, we used it from Shanghai Airport to the city. The train there accelerates to 420 km/h.

This line was built in 2002 by the German company Transrapid, which at that time was the leading company in the world. Their maglevs reached speeds of up to 500 km/h.

Back in 1987, a test line with a length of 31.5 km was built near the city of Emsland. The line was regularly visited by tourists who could ride on one of the new trains.

Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility)
Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility) Yuriy Buriak


Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility)
Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility) Yuriy Buriak

Everything was fine until September 22, 2006. Every morning, the line was checked for garbage by workers on a special service machine. After completing the work, they always requested permission to leave the track by radio. This time there was no answer, they waited and did not know that this morning, half an hour earlier than usual, an additional test run was planned with tourists, partly employees of the Transrapid company.

Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility)
Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility) Yuriy Buriak

At that time, the Transrapid 08 train stood on the line, making up to 450 km/h. It started as usual, while the dispatcher, for some reason, forgot about the workers and a 60-ton diesel service machine on the track. Subsequently, the black box showed that the train driver engaged emergency braking, though the train run into an obstacle at a speed of 162 km/h. Due to the aerodynamic shape, the train did not hit the service car, but dived under it, thereby demolishing the upper part, along with the passengers.

Transrapid crash in 2006
Transrapid crash in 2006 dpa

23 people were killed, another 11 were seriously injured. A large-scale investigation was conducted, the result of which was the conclusion about the tragedy due to human error. Two dispatchers were sentenced, though they did not end up in jail due to their mental state and suicidal tendencies.

Two more managers were fined for the lack of an automatic system that would prevent the train from starting if there is an obstacle on the track.

At the moment, Transrapid not existing anymore.

Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility)
Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility) Yuriy Buriak

The track is still standing and is slowly being destroyed. Most likely, it will soon be dismantled. You can take a walk or ride a bike along it. And near the launch station there is even one of the maglev trains.

Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility)
Maglev Test Track (Emsland Transrapid Test Facility) Yuriy Buriak

Getting there: parking N 52 52.248 E 7 20.959.
Tags, Germany: interesting transport

Tags, all countries: interesting transport
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