German officials have announced a new maglev train proposal designed to connect inner and outer Berlin.
The city’s Christian Democrats, the largest party in the German capital’s ruling coalition, has proposed the construction of a driverless test track for maglev trains to see whether the idea would be viable.
Maglev is a system of train transportation that is levitated along a guideway through the use of magnetic forces.
By levitating, maglev trains remove the rail-to-wheel contact present in conventional railways, eliminating rolling resistance
Estimated to cost €80m (£69m), a location for the 5-7km (3.1-4.3-mile) test track has yet to be decided.
Should it be approved, the future train the test track would be created for would reportedly operate on a service designed to connect Berlin’s suburban communities commuting into the city centre.
The German capital previously had a maglev train system operate in West Berlin, which ran for 1.6km (0.99 miles) across three stops.
Created to serve the transport routes severed by the Berlin wall, the M-Bahn began experimental operations in 1989.
A string of train failures kept the maglev train out of public use until 1991, by which time the Berlin wall had fallen, rendering the route obsolete. The M-Bahn officially shut in July 1991 after just 13 days of public service.
Support for the new maglev train remains tentative due in part to the Christian Democrats’ mixed record of delivering public transport options.
Berlin’s government has also cancelled plans for new bicycle lanes and proposals to abolish priority for cyclists overall — a turnaround for a city that had been on the way to becoming Europe’s third-most bike-friendly capital, following Amsterdam and Copenhagen.
Scepticism over the project has been exacerbated by Berlin’s last major transport project, the Berlin Brandenburg Airport, running over its scheduled opening time by 11 years before officially opening in 2020.
Modifying Berlin’s subway system currently seems the most likely candidate for improving transportation capacity within the city.
Talks have already begun regarding a possible extension of the Berlin subway, extending its considerable network to cater for Berlin’s suburban communities and a line to the airport.
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