The Transrapid is a magnetic levitation train developed in Germany for high-speed traffic . The traffic system (vehicles, control technology and ancillary systems) was marketed, planned and developed by Siemens AG and ThyssenKrupp Transrapid GmbH . Numerous other, primarily German companies developed components such as switches, track girders, etc. After the state-funded development began in 1969, the first prototypes were presented in 1979. In 1991 the readiness for use was recognized. The only Transrapid line in regular operation was put into operation in 2003 in Shanghai . In Germany, the Transrapid projects Berlin – Hamburg , Metrorapid and an airport shuttle in Munich were canceled after many years of planning.
The Transrapid system
The Transrapid technology is a high-speed railway designed for passenger transport. A Transrapid train can consist of two to ten sections and, depending on the seating and service facilities, according to the manufacturer, have up to 1172 seats.
The core of the Transrapid system consists of the following components:
The undercarriage is pulled from below to the path it encompasses and can be moved without contact. Guiding magnets keep it on track laterally. For floating on a traveling magnetic field, energy must be continuously supplied; the field counteracts the gravitational pull. The vehicle is pulled forward by the moving field in the driveway, the speed depending on the frequency of the field. The vehicle and track together form a linear motor , with the track representing the stator. Unlike most land vehicles, there is no rolling resistance . No wheels, axles, drive shafts or gears are required for the drive. Frictional losses and wear and tear on such components are eliminated.
This has three main consequences:
- The performance can be adapted largely independent of space and weight of the vehicle to the routing features of the route as required. The converters and other components of the drive describe the possibilities of the operating concept and are therefore specified as part of the planning of the respective route.
- A minimum distance must be provided between the route and the vehicle in order to be able to compensate for the vibrations of the vehicle and the curved courses of the route. Therefore, the distance between the stator and the rotor is greater here than with electric drive machines of the classic rotating design. Because the efficiency of electrical machines depends, among other things, on the size of the air gap , the efficiency of the Transrapid drive is initially lower than that of a conventional electric motor. However, there is no further drive transmission to the track, such as the wheel-rail contact of conventional railways, and thus their friction, without which the resulting efficiency is again more favorable.
- The functioning of this type of levitation technology and the drive effect is structurally required that the vehicle encloses its travel path relatively narrowly and partly from below.
The word creation “Transrapid” is composed of the Latin words trans “over” and rapidus “fast”. The manufacturer's product name is sometimes used as a synonym for magnetic levitation train in German-speaking countries. Internationally, the term Maglev , which is derived from the English term for Magnetic Levitation Train, is used, but it is not only used to describe products and the magnetic levitation train technology from the manufacturers Siemens AG and ThyssenKrupp AG .
Speed, acceleration, braking distance
The Transrapid has advantages over, for example, the ICE with these performance data.
System speed means the maximum achievable speed with the respective development branch of the technology. The value is given here as 550 km / h. The design speed refers to the maximum drivable speed related to a specifically planned or built route. 505 km / h was specified for the Transrapid route in Munich. Operating speed means the maximum speed in everyday line traffic. Economic considerations such as energy consumption and the routing parameters are decisive for this, which also applies to the wheel / rail system. The necessary braking distance also plays a role on short distances. The average speed related to a certain travel distance, the quotient of the distance traveled and the travel time , is referred to as the travel speed . Since a vehicle has to accelerate and brake, this is always less than the operating speed.
On the built Transrapid line in Shanghai, 501.5 km / h were achieved in test operation. The operating speed in regular traffic is 430 km / h, which is driven for about 50 s on the short route.
Operation at high speeds requires suitable route construction requirements. The minimum negotiable curve radii are given for a speed of 300 km / h as 1937 m and for a speed of 500 km / h as 5382 m. The previously planned short route in Munich showed that there are numerous places where one would have to forego a high-speed design in favor of landscape protection with tight curve radii and bundling with existing traffic routes .
The Transrapid is able to accelerate from standstill to 200 km / h in 60 s and from 200 km / h to 400 km / h in another 60 s. It takes around four kilometers to accelerate to 300 km / h (4.2 km on the Shanghai route). The ICE 3 takes 324 s on the plane and a distance of around 18 km to accelerate from 0 to 300 km / h.
Vehicle manufacturers often only specify the maximum achievable acceleration, which, however, is only achieved in the start-up phase. (The noticeable acceleration for the passenger is greatest when starting off). With the Transrapid this is a maximum of 1.3 m / s². This decreases with increasing speed, since the opposing forces increase with the square of the speed. If the acceleration has dropped to zero, the maximum possible maximum speed has been reached. What is more interesting is the mean acceleration to reach a certain speed. This shows a great advantage of the Transrapid over the ICE 3, as the former can maintain its acceleration for much longer: An ICE (half-train) has a residual acceleration of 0.54 m / s² at 150 km / h and that at 300 km / h drops to 0.34 m / s², while the Transrapid (five sections) at 300 km / h still has a residual acceleration of 0.90 m / s². Even when crossing the 500 km / h limit, the residual acceleration is still 0.66 m / s². This explains why the Transrapid can reach high speeds after a short distance.
The length of the braking distance in rail systems is primarily based on the well-being of the passengers, i.e. H. Delays are designed in such a way that the passengers are caused as little damage as possible. There are defined limit values for braking deceleration (1.3 m / s²) and braking jerk. Both should not knock a standing passenger over and should not result in luggage flying through the cabin. A theoretical advantage of the Transrapid is of no use here.
With the state-of-the-art technology, the Transrapid can cope with longitudinal inclines of 10% compared to 4% for the ICE 3. This enables more flexible route planning in hilly terrain. In the inner city area, a more flexible route planning through comparatively short ramps for changing between underground, ground-level and elevated carriageway guidance is an advantage of the Transrapid.
The braking systems of the Transrapid only work when the vehicle is moving; stopping on stretches with a longitudinal incline is therefore not possible in the hovering state. Even the braking system provided when the vehicle is standing still by being lowered onto runners is only suitable to a limited extent for stretches with longitudinal inclines. In this respect, the Transrapid cannot stop on steep inclines or declines in poor weather conditions. If the drive fails on an incline, you can float back to the next level stop. The safe, minimum distance between trains on the same route is lengthened on routes with longer gradients due to this process, which must be taken into account, which reduces the capacity of the route.
Suitability for goods
The payload of the TR08 vehicles designed for passenger traffic is limited to around 39 tons per section (previous versions to 15 tons). The profile of the vehicles allows the transport of the LD containers common in aviation . It is not possible to use the Transrapid vehicles to substitute conventional rail freight transport. A car train service is also not possible with the Transrapid.
A train with the maximum possible ten sections can so far transport 150 tons of payload. This corresponds to the possible payload of the cargo version of the Airbus A380 . The average payload of cargo aircraft is lower. The substitution of cargo air traffic and mail air traffic in the distance range up to 1000 km is therefore possible. So far, no Transrapid vehicles have been built for freight transport.
With the Transrapid system, the vehicle and the route do not touch each other while driving. Mechanical wear processes in direct contact, such as wheels with rails, are therefore excluded. However, the vehicle weight and the dynamic acceleration have an effect on the route and the stator system. The forces are not transferred to small points, but over a large area via the suspension frames along the Transrapid sections.
Because of the regular signs of aging of concrete structures, inspections and general renovations must be carried out on tunnels and elevated routes ( bridges ) at regular intervals of several decades.
The Transrapid does not require any wheel tires, bogies, gears, drive rotors or drive shafts. Therefore, maintenance and replacement of such parts are not required. The high possible operating speed and the reduced maintenance times on the Transrapid vehicles enable a high annual mileage. However, in the previous Transrapid plans with the construction of only one route between two locations, it has proven to be a problem to utilize this possible mileage with a sufficient number of passengers. In the abandoned Munich airport feeder project , the planned usage ratio of the vehicles on the short distance of 50% idle times to 50% travel times was criticized as economically unacceptable, since the possible mileage of the vehicles is far from being exhausted in such deployment planning and the advantages of the technology are not used.
Network capability, compatibility and availability
The route and vehicle of the Transrapid have been developed precisely for each other and form a uniform system of the manufacturer consortium. Technically compatible vehicles from other manufacturers have not yet been developed.
A failure of a Transrapid route due to accidents, storms, natural disasters such as earthquakes, etc. means a loss of the entire transport capacity, since unlike with existing networks, no detours are possible. Alternative means of transport such as bike / rail, road or air must therefore always be available as an emergency solution in order to ensure sufficient availability of the transport service.
The fully automatic control of the Transrapid vehicles and the high availability of the vehicles due to the greatly reduced number of wearing parts enable a high level of schedule reliability that cannot be achieved with other systems. In high-speed traffic up to a distance of approx. 1000 km, the Transrapid should have an advantage in terms of travel time and punctuality.
Environment and resource consumption
According to the manufacturer, the energy consumption of the ICE in long-distance traffic is 30% higher than that of the Transrapid at a comparable speed. The energy consumption in short-haul air traffic at incomparable speeds is 400% higher. The CO 2 emissions at 400 km / h are 33 grams per seat kilometer. For modern short-haul aircraft, depending on the assumption of seat occupancy and the length of the route, values between 70 grams and 150 grams of CO 2 emissions per seat-kilometer are published.
Critics complain that the energy consumption is between 5 and 150 percent greater than that of modern trains because of the 1.7 kilowatts per tonne of vehicle weight required for levitation and guidance. An analysis of the energy consumption of the formerly planned Berlin – Hamburg maglev train came to the conclusion that the energy consumption of the Transrapid at speeds below 300 km / h is up to 10% higher than that of the ICE 3. At speeds above 300 km / h up to 350 km / h, the energy requirement of the Transrapid is somewhat lower. The rolling and bearing frictional resistance of the railroad is said to be less than 0.2% of the weight force in the range of normal speeds than the magnetic resistance of the guide magnets of the Transrapid with 0.25% of the weight force. The doctrine that magnetic levitation technology should be valued more favorably than railways in terms of its specific energy consumption is based on a more compact arrangement of seats.
In a study from 1997, the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy came to the conclusion that the Transrapid is ecologically preferable to the ICE from the point of view of resource productivity, provided that it is operated well below 400 km / h. According to this study, the petrol equivalent of the energy consumption of the Transrapid is 1.50 l per 100 passenger kilometers at 250 km / h, 1.82 l at 300 km / h and 3.16 l at 450 km / h.
The Bund Naturschutz in Bayern e. V. publishes in its own calculation a total energy consumption of a suburban train traveling without a stop from Munich main station to Munich airport of 380 kWh compared to 1400 kWh of the Transrapid.
According to a study by Rainer Schach and colleagues, a comparison of the ICE and Transrapid is only possible if the same distance covered (without inclines and curves) is assumed at the same speed. The energy consumption for a seat at a distance of 1 km and 300 km / h (maximum permissible speed of the ICE 3) is 44.4 Wh / pkm for an ICE 3 half-train. In contrast, a five-part TR08 only needs 28.1 Wh / Pkm. The utilization does not play a role in this calculation, since only the energy consumption is assessed, not its operating costs / income. The values apply to the energy supply from the substation. In this analysis, the energy consumption of the Transrapid is around a third lower than that of the ICE 3 at the same speed.
During the discussion of the planning documents for the Transrapid route Hamburg – Berlin, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Ministry of Transport criticized unrealistic information:
“If the conditions for comparison are correct (arrangement and number of seats, technical design of the interior fittings, no dining car), the advantage of the maglev in terms of energy efficiency compared to the ICE is reduced. At speeds above 300 km / h, only the air resistance, which is dependent on the cross-sectional area and shape of the draft, is decisive. It must also be taken into account that system changes and the necessary connection traffic require additional energy input. "
The energy requirement for hovering depends solely on the vehicle mass and the time. At low speeds it therefore has a larger share of the energy consumption per vehicle kilometer . Values between 1.0 kW and 2.0 kW per ton are published as power requirements. The assumption of 1.7 kW means an hourly energy consumption of a vehicle with 170 tons of empty weight and 15 tons of payload of 315 kWh only for the suspension state.
When operating the Transrapid on the planned route in Munich, an output of up to 35 MW would have been necessary for an unspecified period of "a few seconds". Obviously, the automatic control of the trains should ensure that the power peaks do not occur at the same time with several trains in the area of a substation.
The relevant consumption per person-kilometer depends largely on the occupancy of the seats; Bills with full occupancy are misleading as they cannot be reached by any means of transport in the regular service. The current average seat occupancy of the ICEs should be below 50%. The question of CO 2 emissions per person-kilometer depends on the primary energy from which the electricity required per person-kilometer is obtained.
An elevated roadway, as built in Shanghai, allows free passage of all cross traffic without the need for any additional crossing structures. Another advantage are the smaller biotopic compensation areas required compared to conventional railways. Elevated roadways, however, often encounter acceptance problems, as many people perceive this as a disfigurement of the landscape . In the abandoned Transrapid Munich project, neither politicians nor the residents of Munich could get across such a construction method. For this reason, attention is paid to a slim route with monorails . The width of the route on the Transrapid was 2.8 m.
The curve radii of the Transrapid at lower speeds allow it to be bundled with existing traffic routes such as motorways, which avoids the fragmentation and devaluation of other ecologically valuable areas when building new traffic routes. In the discontinued Transrapid Munich project, a level Transrapid route parallel to the motorway was planned on part of the route.
Since when trains meet on two-track sections, the dynamic pressure of the oncoming vehicle exerts a force on the passenger compartment, a minimum distance between the two routes is required for all rail transport. This so-called track center distance is 4.4 meters for the Transrapid at speeds of up to 300 km / h and widens to 5.1 meters at speeds of 500 km / h.
Classic railway embankments have numerous negative environmental impacts. Part of the rail network is also treated with herbicides (2006: 47% of the track kilometers). According to the manufacturer, areas along or under an elevated Transrapid line can be used for agriculture, as no emissions are caused by dripping oil or abrasion. However, any dripping emissions from chemicals used in the de-icing or cleaning of the road structure must not be suppressed. The land use in considering the restriction of the habitat noise-sensitive animal species as well as other transport higher than the demand for the actual route. The static pressure of the moving vehicle mass on the route also transfers vibrations into the ground, which, according to the manufacturer, are no longer perceptible at a distance of 50 m. The quality of use of the corridor along the route does not remain unaffected for humans and animals.
An environmental assessment requires specific route planning and comparisons. If bike-rail routes are not superfluous, but are still necessary for freight traffic and regional traffic, a Transrapid line always takes up additional space for express passenger traffic alone.
The Transrapid system does not generate any rolling noise or structure-borne noise. However, sound is generated at high speeds in the form of wind noise. At 470 km / h at a distance of 25 meters, sound pressure level values of 89 dB [A] are achieved when driving past, at 300 km / h at the same distance 80 dB [A]. The sound depends on the type of carrier used. In comparison, an ICE 3 generates a sound pressure level of between 81.8 and 96.8 dB [A] at a speed of 300 km / h (depending on the track quality). The Transrapid only generates similar noise emissions at 500 km / h, which the ICE emits on an average route at 300 km / h, namely approx. 90–91 dB [A]. In the low speed range, rolling noise predominates; the low noise level of the Transrapid is a strategic advantage when planning routes through existing buildings. As with other vehicles, vibrations and oscillations can cause indirect noise emissions in all speed ranges.
Magnetic field emissions
The magnetic flux density inside the vehicles is 100 according to the manufacturer μT . According to the manufacturer, electrical devices are not impaired in their function in any way; the Transrapid is approved for use by people with a pacemaker. The magnetic field along the route should also be low. Regardless of this, many residents of the route in Shanghai fear health impairments from magnetic fields. Critics criticize the lack of publication of measurements.
An electromagnetic control system regulates the magnitude of the magnetic forces in such a way that a distance of around 10 mm between the supporting magnets and the stator packs is maintained. The magnets are individually suspended so that you can follow the route. Gap sensors are used for distance control. The regulation allows the vehicle to be lifted off the route when it is stationary. To settle in the state serve skids . Runners also serve as friction partners during emergency braking.
The distance between the floor of the Transrapid and the road is approx. 15 cm. The train can therefore overcome smaller obstacles as well as layers of snow or ice. If icing or caked snow cannot be removed by the pressure surge from the vehicle or the wind alone, clearing vehicles must be used.
In the girder version, the route of the Transrapid consists of 6.2 to 60 meter long girders that are prefabricated, unlike conventional rail or road routes, which are usually built continuously and predominantly on site.
For the hybrid construction, a straight prestressed concrete profile is used in combination with attached 3 m long stator packs. The course of the arch is set by cantilever arms of different lengths that are attached to the prestressed concrete profile so that each radius can be set.
The actual driveway is then attached to this structure. It consists of stator packs cast in plastic with stator windings running through them and attached to the underside. Often, expensive copper is wrongly mentioned as a line material, but it is made of cheaper aluminum. In addition, the guideway girder contains steel guide rails (so-called reaction rails) on each side, on which the side guide magnets and the additional brake magnets ultimately act. Both the stator package and the side guide rails allow the travel radius to be freely adjusted down to the minimum radius.
The minimum curve radius of around 270 m results from the vehicle geometry and the geometry of the traction magnets. The transverse slope of the track in curved tracks can be up to 12 ° (21.3%), exceptionally 16 ° (28.7%), while it is limited to around 6.5 ° (11.3%) for railways. As a result, an approx. 20% higher speed can be achieved with the same curve radius (at 1.0 m / s² unbalanced lateral acceleration).
The mechanical setting time of points for the Transrapid route is 18 s, the time from triggering to signal release 30 s. The manufacturer differentiates slow travel switches for max. 100 km / h and high-speed switches for 200 km / h. In the straight ahead position, points should always be max. 500 km / h can be driven.
Travel drive (linear motor)
The vehicle is driven by a traveling magnetic field in the route , which pulls the vehicle along with its own static magnetic field. The travel path acts as a stator of a three-phase synchronous motor in a linear design (hence the long stator principle ), with the vehicle magnets corresponding to the rotor and, in the case of a linear motor, being referred to as a translator (see translational movement ). Their static fields "lock" magnetically into the poles of the linear stator, which forces a fixed magnetic link between the vehicle position and the stator poles. By moving these poles, the vehicle is pulled along - accelerated, braked or simply held at a stopping point. The effective force is always the same and depends on the strength of the magnetic fields involved in the stator and translator. The position of the vehicle is thus determined at every point in time, as long as the magnetic force is sufficiently high and the poles are not "torn apart". This situation is known as “out of step”. Although it did not lead directly to damage, an effective power transmission would then no longer be possible with an enormous amount of noise and vibration - similar to a slipping rack or a rope sliding through the hands. The design of the control systems and the energy supply prevents the vehicle from getting out of step. In order to recognize whether the train can still follow the moving magnetic field when accelerating or braking, redundant position measuring systems continuously determine its position. A control center takes over the control of the journey. This is similar to the line train control in railway networks with active automatic driving-brake control . This enables driverless operation.
Feeds from the section cable supply the traveling field line. They are attached to the route at intervals of 0.3 to 5 km (so-called substation or feeder sections ). The section cables are supplied by converter stations , which provide the required voltages, currents and frequencies in the respective section. There can only be one vehicle in each dining area. The power supply through substations corresponds to that of other electrified railway lines. However, it should be more complex, because the strong acceleration and high top speed cause high current peaks.
The block structure of the drive is one of several parameters that limit the minimum distance between two trains, as there must be at least one free drive segment between them. With originally planned segment lengths of up to 50 km in long-distance traffic, vehicle distances of 20 minutes could be achieved at vehicle speeds of 400 km / h. The segment lengths of the drive can only be changed afterwards with high conversion costs.
The possibility of adapting the performance of the drive segment to the specific requirements of the route section is an advantage, but inflexible when the use changes. Transrapid vehicles all use the same drive integrated into the roadway. This drive must therefore be suitable for all types of Transrapid vehicles used in the future and their payload.
Moving line power supply (stator switching method)
Each converter station is equipped with one or more converter groups. Such groups can be selectively switched to individual subsections (so-called "motor sections") of the route using route cables and section switches.
Vehicle power supply
A linear generator is mainly used for the energy supply in the vehicle. Similar to the electric motor of the traction drive, the linear generator is also a "cut open" and elongated variant of an ordinary rotating generator . There are separate electromagnetic windings in the vehicle for this purpose.
The linear generator takes advantage of the continuous changes in the magnetic field strength caused by the movement of the vehicle when it passes over the individual stator windings. The energy supply from the generator is sufficiently efficient from a minimum speed of 100 km / h to supply the support and guide magnets and the other electrical devices in the vehicle. The generator must be able to generate a maximum output of 270 kW. For short interruptions, the supply comes from continuously charged on- board batteries . Up until 2006, the vehicle systems were still powered by conventional busbars in places where operational reasons had to drive slower than 100 km / h, such as at train stations.
Whether a continuous conductor rail, a linear generator or both elements were provided for the power supply depended on the concept and operating program of the line. In the meantime, the IPS ( Inductive Power Supply ) system has been developed, which allows the required energy to be fed into the route via a corresponding high-frequency feed without contact and into the vehicle via a transformer effect. Power rails are therefore no longer necessary. Even when using the IPS system, linear generators are used to convert kinetic energy into electrical energy for the power supply of the eddy current brake and the levitation function in the event of a power failure on the line. At speeds below 100 km / h, batteries take over the emergency power supply.
In contrast to conventional drives, the energy required for the drive is not required in the vehicle, but in the linear motor of the route. Therefore, comparatively small amounts of energy are required to supply the vehicle itself.
The vehicle and the linear motor of the line will be remotely controlled from the Transrapid 09 technology version via redundant radio links and a location system from a control center. Cameras in the vehicle and in the direction of travel are used to transmit images to the control center. The control is obviously carried out by computers on the basis of specified driving profiles and scenarios and is monitored by staff. Only train attendants are present in the vehicle.
The structural safety is generally higher with monorails of the type Transrapid than with wheel-rail systems. In comparison, the risk of derailment is significantly lower in the construction of an enclosure around the track. Changes that occur slowly (such as the sagging of supporting pillars) are registered with the Transrapid by ongoing route measurements. Collisions between moving magnetic levitation trains in the same segment are not possible due to the drive principle. Significant damage from attacks, broken objects or vehicles cannot be ruled out, just as with other means of transport. Such a danger arose in the serious accident on the Lathen Transrapid test track in September 2006 when a conventionally powered workshop vehicle was overlooked and hit a Transrapid train ( Lathen Transrapid accident ).
Transrapid turnouts should be safer and faster to use than turnouts in wheel-rail systems. When changing direction, however, the entire route must be bent, which means longer changeover times and cycle specifications.
Safety-relevant systems are designed redundantly in the Transrapid. The Transrapid has two independent braking systems. The long stator motor acts as a generator brake , the vehicle is equipped with an eddy current brake. If both brake systems fail, which is an unlikely event according to the manufacturer, according to the traffic economists Vieregg and Rössler , the vehicle would come to a standstill after about 34 km in a suspended state from 350 km / h. Both braking systems are also not fail-safe in the opinion of critics ; this means that braking is not automatically initiated in the event of a fault.
In the event of a total system failure, the Transrapid comes to a mechanical standstill on runners. Transrapid vehicles are equipped with " rescue hoses" to enable the occupants in such situations to slide down to the ground from the train standing on an elevated track.
In the event of a power failure on the route, according to the manufacturer, all devices necessary for hovering are supplied by the vehicle batteries, which means that the vehicle can hover to the next emergency stop with the momentum. In the approval tests for the Transrapid Shanghai in 2003, a suspension frame including runners (two per frame) were slid along the entire route on two trips (total length approx. 55 km) in order to simulate a failure of the suspension magnets. The temperatures of the carbon fiber composite sliding surfaces were in the predicted range of below 500 ° C on all journeys, the total abrasion was 0.5 mm. Critics doubt the failure safety of the floating ability and point out the risk of fire due to the high frictional heat that is supposed to arise in the event of the runners touching down at high speeds.
A safe operating concept is an essential part of safety. The automatic control of Transrapid vehicles means that compliance with regulations such as maximum speeds in certain sections is free from the risk of human error. The risks arising from such techniques are controversially assessed as being lower than the replaced risks.
Vehicles such as the Transrapid, in which a mass of approx. 200 t is accelerated to over 400 km / h with the result of high kinetic energy that can only be withdrawn from the system on braking distances of around 5 km, retain unalterable residual risks. Such risks also exist with other modes of transport and their users are mostly aware of them. The qualification of specific risks of the Transrapid operation in safety studies as rare, improbable or unthinkable is necessarily based on assumptions and can hardly be based on empirically gained knowledge. Quote from a security concept: "When comparing risks, it must be taken into account that for a new system like the MSB there is only a forecast and limited operating experience."
|Year of construction from||1988||1999||2007|
|Alignment parameters||Technology booth 07||Technology booth 08||Technology booth 09|
|length||51.70 m||79.70 m||75.80 m|
|height||4.70 m (?)||4.20 m||4.25 m|
|Empty mass||92 t (110 t gross vehicle weight)||149.5 t||170 t|
|Seats||Max. 310||148 or 156|
|Standing room||No||296 or 328|
|Design speed||450 km / h||500 km / h||505 km / h|
|Operating speed||420 km / h||(350 km / h)|
|Number of lifting magnets||15 per section|
|Support gap||10 mm|
|Number of guide magnets||12 per section|
|Side guide gap||9 mm|
|Inductive power supply||No||No||Yes|
|driverless operation||No||yes (since 2005)||Yes|
|investment||Transrapid test facility in Emsland||Munich route|
|Motor in the route||Long stator synchronous linear motor|
|Segment length||300 ... 2080 m|
|Max. Propulsive force||90 kN|
|Power requirement at 400 km / h||6.0 MW|
|Vehicle acceleration||0.85 m / s²|
|Vehicle deceleration||1.2 m / s²|
|Max. Road slope||12 ° (21.2%)|
|Max. Longitudinal slope of the road||5.7 ° (10%)|
|Acceleration (time / distance) from a standing start|
|100 km / h||34 s / 500 m|
|200 km / h||62 s / 1730 m|
|300 km / h||98 s / 4300 m|
|400 km / h||156 s / 10000 m|
|500 km / h||266 s / 23300 m|
|Braking distance (time / distance)|
|100 km / h|
|200 km / h||58 s / 1576 m|
|300 km / h||87 s / 3600 m|
|400 km / h|
|500 km / h||147 s / 10475 m|
|minimum curve radius at|
|Slow speed||350 m||270 m|
|200 km / h||855 m|
|300 km / h||1937 m|
|400 km / h||3415 m|
|500 km / h||5382 m|
|550 km / h||6455 m|
|minimum tip radius|
|300 km / h||22 km|
|450 km / h||50 km|
|minimum tunnel cross-section area (double lane)|
|250 km / h||70 m²|
|400 km / h||180 m²|
|450 km / h||225 m²|
The Transrapid 09 was presented to the public on March 23, 2007. It enables driverless operation. A new addition is the contactless energy transfer via the IPS system ( Inductive Power Supply ). IPS also works in the speed range below 100 km / h, which is why the power rails and pantographs required for earlier technology stands are no longer necessary for slow travel sections. The non-contact power supply of the vehicle by converting kinetic energy with linear generators requires higher speeds. The planned operating speed when used in Munich was 350 km / h. Depending on the layout with or without a luggage compartment and the use of the standing area, the vehicle can accommodate between 222 and 449 passengers.
The data on minimum curve radii, summit radii, acceleration and deceleration are taken from the accompanying material for specialist presentations. It is unclear in individual cases to which technology level the information relates. The deceleration listed under route is a property of the vehicle as well as a property of the regenerative brake of the route. The route parameters are described by the manufacturer - compared to other traffic systems - as advantageous, since they allow flexible adaptation to the landscape and the bundling with existing traffic routes. However, the advantages of the route and the high-speed design are in conflict, as tighter curve radii to adapt the route to the given route topology require lower operating speeds.
Prehistory, legwork and political environment
The history of the Transrapid began in 1969 and 1970 with a first study and the start of research funding. First, short stator variants were examined. The full length of the busbars installed along the route was rated as a disadvantage. The company MBB (now Airbus Group ) presented a demonstrator for passenger transport on May 6, 1971 in Ottobrunn near Munich. Today it is on display in the Lokwelt Freilassing . In the same year, the Krauss-Maffei company presented the Transrapid 02 on its own test track in Munich-Allach , giving birth to the name of all subsequent vehicles.
The Transrapid 02 was supposed to reach a speed of 150 km / h on the nearly 1 km long test track at the end of 1971. For the following year, the test track was to be extended to around 2 km and a top speed of 350 km / h. The test program set up until the end of 1972 should, if possible, be continued as early as 1973 at the planned National Test Facility for Transport Technologies .
In 1972 the companies AEG-Telefunken , Brown, Boveri & Cie. and Siemens developed a prototype EET 01 with superconducting coils, which was operated on a 900 m long circular path in Erlangen . The principle of electrodynamic levitation was used here.
At the beginning of 1973 Dornier GmbH was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Research to summarize the previous development results in the field of rapid transit systems and thus to collect the basis for decision-making for further development. Thyssen Henschel (today ThyssenKrupp AG ) and the TU Braunschweig developed the long stator technology used today from 1974. The test vehicle KOMET from MBB reached a speed of 401 km / h in 1976 on the 1.3 km long test track in Manching . Two years later, trial operation of the world's first long-stator magnetic levitation train to transport passengers began. In 1977 the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology decided to stop funding electrodynamic levitation systems and short stator drive systems. This decision took effect in 1979 and 1983, respectively. This is referred to as the so-called "system decision" for the technology of today's Transrapid.
Research, operations and project management
In addition to the drive, the TU Braunschweig has also made development contributions to the track. The former federally owned company IABG operated the test facility in Emsland. The program and implementation management for the federal government was provided by the EADS subsidiary Dornier-Consulting .
Political environment and criticism
In particular, the long-discussed project of a Transrapid line between Berlin and Hamburg gave the Transrapid technology high public visibility and broad, cross-party support in parliament. The route was seen as a symbol of unity, as was the first application of an innovative technology developed in Germany with further positive effects on industrial policy. This was also expressed in the establishment of a Transrapid parliamentary discussion group chaired by Hans Eichel . Basically similar expectations were also placed on the pilot and lighthouse effect of the (smaller) Munich project.
A sociological consideration of the development of the Transrapid (F. Büllingen, 1997) describes in a critical way a network of industrial managers and lobbyists who have suppressed the transport policy criticism expressed at an early stage as well as arguments and comparisons with classic modes of transport that had turned out to be in their favor . They would have systematically sealed off the project from reality. The market niche of the Transrapid has become considerably narrower or even disappeared due to new developments in air traffic and in the bicycle / rail sector. The critics also draw parallels between the history of the Transrapid and the monorail technologies of the 1950s and 1960s. In Germany and France, for example, systems comparable to Alwegbahn and Aérotrain (each from only one manufacturer) were developed, all of which had individual technical advantages over wheel-rail, as future technology aroused great expectations and attention, but which did not meet the high expectations.
According to Gisela Hürlimann, such “actor-driven” new technologies underestimate the complex innovation potential and large social capital of the existing wheel-rail systems. Systemic innovation, such as with the Pendolino , socio-technical and infrastructural continuity and international connectivity across borders, are possible within the wheel-rail technology, but not with the Transrapid.
Career from system decision to operational readiness
On February 12, 1976, a test sled known as an emergency component carrier reached a speed of 388 km / h on a 1.3 km long test track of the Transrapid EMS near Manching . Emergency track systems were tested with it, which should enable the vehicle to slide safely out of the hover if the vehicle suddenly “falls”.
In 1978 the consortium "Magnetbahn Transrapid" was founded and the decision to build the Transrapid test facility Emsland (TVE) was decided. A year later, the International Transport Exhibition (IVA) in Hamburg presented the world's first maglev train (Transrapid 05) approved for passenger traffic. Their maximum travel speed was 75 km / h.
In mid-1979 the planning of a test facility was started. As part of the selection process, a system was developed that should contain all the essential elements of an application-oriented route (with regard to inclines, curves, crests, switches). In 1980 the construction of the Transrapid test facility in Emsland (TVE) began. At the end of October 1983, the Transrapid floated on the system for the first time in a publicly perceptible manner.
On May 4, 1984, the speed of the Transrapid 06 exceeded the 200 km / h mark for the first time at 205 km / h. On October 17th of the same year, the vehicle set a new world record for passenger-manned electromagnetic levitation vehicles at 302 km / h. The Transrapid 06, developed for a speed of 400 km / h, reached a speed of 392 km / h in 1987.
In 1985/86 the connections Hamburg-Hanover, Hanover-Rhine-Ruhr area and Rhine / Ruhr-Rhine / Main area were discussed as possible application routes for the Transrapid. At that time, a route between Frankfurt am Main and Cologne was given great opportunities, there the traffic route plan in 1985 provided for a connection, which, however, was not set to the rail mode of transport.
At the beginning of December 1987, the maglev train set a new world record for maglev vehicles manned by people at 406 km / h. A little later the train reached a speed of 412.6 km / h. In 1988, application-oriented continuous operation was started. In 1988 members of the German Bundestag spoke out in favor of building a nationwide maglev system in the form of a "big 8" worth around 30 billion Deutschmarks over the planned reference route on the Hamburg-Hanover route.
The Transrapid 07 , developed from 1987 onwards, is designed for speeds of 500 km / h. In 1989 his trial operation began on TVE. In 1993 it reached a speed of 450 km / h. In the spring of 1991, experts from the Deutsche Bundesbahn and various universities tested the system to be ready for use on application routes.
The design of the Transrapid comes from Alexander Neumeister . In 1999, the design was honored with a stamp pad from the Deutsche Bundespost for outstanding industrial design from Germany.
The following series of the system are and were in use.
|Transrapid 01||German Museum Munich|
|Transrapid 02||Krauss-Maffei , Munich|
|Transrapid 04||Technology Museum Speyer|
|Transrapid 05||Technology Museum Kassel|
|Transrapid 06||Section I raised in front of the Deutsches Museum Bonn , Section II stored after vandalism|
|Transrapid 07||Section II on the Max Bögl factory premises in Sengenthal and Section I at the Lathen information center|
|Transrapid 08||E1 destroyed on September 22, 2006 , M stored undamaged, E2 undamaged on the parking facility at the Lathen information center|
|Shanghai Maglev Train (SMT)||Three trains in commercial use in Shanghai|
|Transrapid 09||in use on TVE until 2011, auctioned in 2016 by Vebeg to descendants of the inventor of the maglev train, Hermann Kemper , and since then exhibited at the company's headquarters in Nortrup .|
From project studies to the first use of the system as an airport shuttle
In Germany and around the world, a large number of project studies were carried out before and after the operational readiness was determined in 1991. With the exception of the project in Shanghai, none of these projects were implemented.
Transrapid in Germany
Planning a test track in Bavaria
The first plans for a Transrapid test route were made in Bavaria. In 1977 the construction of a 57 kilometer long Transrapid test track on 16 meter high stilts south of Donauwörth in the Donauried parallel to the course of the Danube was planned. The northern turning loop was to be built near the municipality of Mertingen , the southern one between the municipalities of Fristingen, Holzheim and Aislingen . However, the construction failed due to the resistance of the population and in particular the farmers who did not want to sell their land for the project. By 1984, federal funds of DM 760 million had been invested in the Transrapid technology.
Test track in Lower Saxony
The first test track for the Transrapid was finally implemented in Emsland in Lower Saxony. In Lathen in the Emsland is the Emsland test facility, by the IABG is operated and was built from 1980 to 1987. In 1987 the test track was put into operation.
On September 22nd, 2006 at around 10 a.m., a serious accident occurred at the Transrapid test facility in Emsland, in which 23 people died and ten others were injured. The Transrapid 08, which was occupied by 31 people, had crashed into a workshop vehicle with two people on the open road. Human error was found to be the cause of the accident.
The operating license for the test facility was revoked as a result of the accident, but was re-issued in July 2008.
On December 10, 2008, the closure of the Transrapid test route in the Emsland was announced for June 2009. A dismantling will cost 40 million euros, which will be borne by the Federal Republic of Germany. With reference to the Federal Ministry of Transport , the total previous funding of the Transrapid technology was given as 1.4 billion euros. An initiative by entrepreneurs is committed to maintaining the test route and wants to test newly developed road supports that allegedly reduce the cost of building the route by 30%, which improves the Transrapid's export opportunities. On February 4, 2009, in response to inquiry 16/11512 from the Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen parliamentary group, the federal government announced that the test facility could be expected to be shut down in the course of 2009. On June 24th, 2009 it was announced that the district, state, federal government and industry had agreed to continue operating the test track and to finance it until April 2010 in order to enable testing of the new carriageway. Any further financing made the politicians dependent on specific orders for the Transrapid. The new federal government approved further funds for the operation of the test facility until the end of 2010. The last time the federal government received funding was in 2011, which was subject to the condition that those involved agree on a re-use or processing concept. From 1970, 800 million euros were spent on the construction, operation and maintenance of the TVE. If the development results are used, the industry has to repay up to 100 million euros to the federal government. The Transrapid test facility was shut down at the end of 2011; the test train is now used in Nortrup as a conference and museum area.
Efforts to realize the Transrapid in Germany
In Germany, various routes for the implementation of a (regular) Transrapid route have been discussed in the past.
In December 1987, the coalition working group for magnetic high-speed railways spoke out in favor of the implementation of the Transrapid in Germany. In June 1988, the federal government recommended application routes between Hamburg and Hanover and between Essen and Bonn. In November 1988, the Federal Ministry of Research and Transport asked Thyssen to set up a consortium of companies and banks in order to subject the selected routes to an in-depth examination. The so-called Transrapid push-on group submitted its report in June 1989.
By the end of 1989, 1.4 billion D-Marks (around 700 million euros) had been invested in federal funds in the Transrapid project. In December 1989 the Kohl government decided to build a magnetic levitation train between Düsseldorf and Cologne. The project was abandoned a short time later because of the reunification.
In 1992 the Transrapid route Hamburg - Berlin was included in the federal transport infrastructure plan; the project was discontinued shortly before the end of the planning approval procedure in early 2000. The reason given included, among other things, considerable increases in costs for the construction of the route and the technology in the course of the planning, which had risen from around 4.5 billion euros in 1993 to around 7.5 billion euros in plan costs; independent experts even named 10 billion euros. In particular, the CEO of Deutsche Bahn AG, Hartmut Mehdorn , emphasized that he saw no point in investing DM 12 billion to gain 20 minutes of travel time and that Deutsche Bahn did not consider the pro rata investments of several billion DM to be made by it as " business millstone could hang around the neck ”. Bahn withdrew from the project two months after Mehdorn took over the position of CEO of Deutsche Bahn. The manufacturer consortium did not want to become more involved beyond what was intended for them (namely the operating system). This meant that there was no longer any operator or co-investor besides industry.
On May 3, 1998 the joint venture Transrapid International was founded by Adtranz, Siemens and Thyssen in Berlin . On August 23, 2000, the Schröder government, Deutsche Bahn and the companies in the Transrapid consortium agreed to implement a Transrapid reference route in Germany. From October 2000 a feasibility study for the Metrorapid and Transrapid Munich projects was carried out. The results of the study were presented on January 21, 2002 in Berlin.
The planned passenger numbers for the Transrapid at that time of around 14.5 million passengers a year (20,000 passengers daily in each direction) with a fare that is also 30% higher than in the 1st class of the ICE are now being used for top speeds ICEs running up to 230 km / h from Hamburg – Berlin railway line not reached. According to the planning status at the end of the 1990s, the return ticket for the Transrapid should cost an average of around 250 euros. In 2005, around 4,000 passengers used the ICE between Hamburg and Berlin with a journey time of 93 minutes. In 2008, the normal 2nd class ICE price for a return ticket with a seat reservation Hamburg – Berlin is 134 euros. When the route was planned in the mid-1990s, 200 of the travelers between Hamburg and Berlin used a plane, 6000 used a car and 2000 took the train. Nevertheless, due to the increase in traffic during the turning point in east-west traffic, it was assumed that in 2010 alone 20,000 rail travelers per day in each direction on this route. Furthermore, a wrong catchment area was assumed in the prognosis due to the non-consideration of the then planned high-speed line Hanover-Berlin . The assumption of high passenger numbers was obviously necessary in order to be able to represent the profitability of the route.
In 1999, railway boss Hartmut Mehdorn announced the end of the Transrapid line between Hamburg and Berlin.
In mid-2003, Peer Steinbrück , then the newly elected Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia , decided to end the planning for the Metrorapid . The background was current budget deficits, open financing issues and a possible coalition crisis with the Greens.
In 2003, Manfred Stolpe , then Prime Minister of the State of Brandenburg, proposed that the airports of 'Berlin and Leipzig' be merged under one roof. The expanded Leipzig Airport without a night flight ban would have taken over intercontinental flights and air freight, while Berlin would have largely taken over passenger air traffic. With this Transrapid route, the expansion from Schönefeld to the major airport Berlin Brandenburg Airport would have been superfluous.
In 2005 the federal government decided to invest a further 113 million euros in the Transrapid technology as part of a further development program. At least one Transrapid reference route is to be implemented in Germany.
After Joachim Haedke, Member of the Bavarian State Parliament, was the first politician to demand a magnetic levitation train connection between the 'Munich Central Station and Munich Airport', the planning approval for the Munich Transrapid was initiated in 2005 at the Federal Railway Authority . The route with a length of 37.4 km should connect the two infrastructural important places with ten minutes driving time. A planning approval decision was expected in mid-2008; the participation and consultation process was completed in January 2008.
The project was burdened with unresolved financing issues and a lack of broad social acceptance.
On March 27, 2008, the federal government, the Bavarian state government and industry decided not to build the Transrapid in Munich from the main train station to the airport. The increased cost forecast from 1.85 billion euros in September 2007 to over 3 billion euros in March 2008 was named as the main reason. The cause of the cost explosion were the drastically increased construction costs, whereas the costs of the Transrapid system remained almost the same. The Bavarian State Ministry of Economics indicated an almost doubling of the last-mentioned planned costs of 1.85 billion euros; Newspapers named 3.4 billion euros. Since doubts about the cost-benefit ratio of the project already existed with the planned investment amount of 1.85 billion euros, the project could no longer be justified as a sensible investment.
After the end of the route in Munich, the manufacturers (Siemens and ThyssenKrupp) decided at an advisory board meeting on May 8, 2008 to dissolve the Transrapid International joint venture on October 1, 2008.
Legal basis for the construction of the Transrapid in Germany
In autumn 1993, the Kohl government introduced the Magnetic Levitation Railway Planning Act (MBPlG) to the German Bundestag. This paved the way for the construction of maglev lines in Germany. Among other things, the legal basis for planning was defined, the responsibility of the Federal Railway Authority as the planning approval authority and building supervisory authority was determined and various legal provisions were adapted. The Magnetic Levitation Railway Requirement Act (MsbG) and the General Magnetic Levitation Railway Act (AMbG) followed in order to create a legal basis for the planned construction of the Hamburg – Berlin line. The Magnetic Levitation Railway Ordinance with the parts Magnetic Levitation Building and Operating Rules (MbBO) and Magnetic Levitation Noise Protection Ordinance (MbLschVO) followed the legislation in 1997.
The Magnetic Levitation Railway Requirement Act, which legally established the need for a magnetic levitation train between Hamburg and Berlin, was repealed by the Schröder government in 2000. For the route, the need and the cost-benefit ratio would have to be proven in the event of renewed activities. The previous law stipulating the need for a magnetic levitation train between Hamburg and Berlin was the subject of extensive criticism; Journalists commented on it as strange . Bad planning was made possible by this law.
In May 2005 the automatic (driverless) operation was approved by the authorities. The Transrapid 08 is the first high-speed system in Europe to be approved for automatic operation .
Transrapid in China
In the People's Republic of China , trial operations began on December 31, 2002 on a 30 km route from Shanghai to Pudong Airport. On November 12, 2003, the Transrapid in Shanghai set a new speed record of 501 km / h as the fastest commercial maglev. At the beginning of 2004, regular operations began as the fastest track-bound vehicle in the world according to the timetable.
A planned expansion to the neighboring city of Hangzhou , 170 kilometers away , was initially stopped. It was planned to connect the two Shanghai airports ( Pudong International Airport with Hongqiao Domestic Airport ) by Transrapid by the time of the 2010 World Exhibition . In order to avoid further resident protests, the planned expansion route was shortened and is to run largely underground and further away from residential areas. The costs are said to have more than doubled to 46.6 million euros per km. In January 2008, however, there were demonstrations against the continued construction. In December 2008, Siemens declared the Transrapid to connect the two airports in Shanghai to Expo 2010 as a failure.
According to media reports from January 2011, the plan to continue building the line to Hangzhou was also abandoned because the cost of saving just 10 minutes compared to the modernized railway line that was completed in autumn 2010 was too high.
Transrapid in the Middle East
In May 2007, a feasibility study was commissioned for a more than 800-kilometer route in Iran. If it is realized, the route should connect Tehran with the pilgrimage site of Mashhad in the north-east of the country. Transrapid International, the former joint marketing company of Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, did not name this preliminary study, unlike other project studies, on its website that was operated until the company was dissolved; the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel spoke out against the export of the Transrapid to Iran. On May 27, 2009 it was announced that Iran will now supposedly build the line, but contracts are said to have been concluded with an engineering office and not with the manufacturers. Siemens commented on the report as puzzling plans that had nothing to do with.
A distance of 180 km from Abu Dhabi to Dubai , where a major airport is being built, was cited by Transrapid International on their website in the time before the company was dissolved in this region, without specifying the planning status and a time window for a possible project completion.
On March 17, 2008, Bavaria's Prime Minister Günther Beckstein handed over a feasibility study over a 150-kilometer stretch between Qatar and Bahrain in Doha to Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, the head of state of Qatar. A quick decision is not to be expected; Competitive systems from Japan and France are under discussion. At an operating speed of 500 km / h, the concept envisages a travel time between Doha North and Ar Rifa of 21 minutes. On November 20, 2009 it was announced that Qatar had commissioned Deutsche Bahn to build a high-speed rail line to Bahrain. The Transrapid solution has apparently been rejected.
Further routes in the Arab countries have been discussed but not yet specifically planned.
Transrapid in the Netherlands
Various Transrapid projects were discussed in the Netherlands . Originally, day commuters from rural Groningen were supposed to be connected to the Randstad . A consortium led by Siemens Netherlands proposed on November 3, 2005 to pre-finance a short route from Almere to Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport . Further steps have not yet been taken.
Transrapid in the USA
There have been and still are some considerations and collaborations, also at government level, to take the Transrapid into account when renewing North American overland rail traffic. Current studies, however, give preference to classic wheel-rail systems.
At the beginning of 2001, the US government announced that it would be preparing an environmental impact and feasibility study by 2002 for the Transrapid projects for the Pittsburgh airport connection and the Baltimore - Washington metropolitan connection .
Transrapid in Great Britain
The proposal for the British Ultraspeed project envisages the use of the Transrapid technology in a city network in Great Britain. So far, however, both sustainable financing and a government decision have not been made.
Transrapid in Switzerland
The SwissRapide consortium is developing an above-ground magnetic levitation train for Switzerland based on Transrapid technology. The first projects include the routes Bern - Zurich , Lausanne - Geneva and Zurich - Winterthur .
Competitive situation and comparison of modes of transport
In feasibility studies, the Transrapid is also in competition with other transport systems . The overall system, consisting of the track and vehicle, is a solution from a manufacturer consortium that is partially protected by patents . For an existing Transrapid system, neither the drive, which is located in the route, nor the vehicle can be procured separately and in competition by tendering, as there are no competing providers on the market. The operators of an existing Transrapid infrastructure are therefore always dependent on the manufacturer consortium for the procurement and expansion of this system. The construction of individual, new routes themselves, however, could also be put out to tender individually in competition with others, such as wheel-rail technologies.
A high-speed maglev train called JR-Maglev is being developed in Japan . A currently 43 km long test track is to be expanded in the future as Chūō Shinkansen will connect Tokyo and Nagoya over 286 km , later also connecting Osaka when fully expanded . An unimplemented city connection network for Switzerland, Swissmetro , should be operated with a maglev system. This railway was to run completely underground in evacuated tunnel tubes with reduced air resistance. An extension or a merger of the different systems into a uniform network is impossible, since all three technologies are not compatible with each other. However, the project was canceled in 2009 due to a lack of implementation opportunities.
In addition, it is becoming apparent that new types of magnetic levitation train systems based on the passive levitation effect can be significantly more energy-efficient and thus more economical than the Transrapid, which only uses considerable energy for the levitation effect and also has to accept significant losses in propulsion energy due to the enlarged air gap.
Nationwide traffic in general
|Travel time for|
|100 km||500 km|
|150 km / h||40 min||3:20 h|
|200 km / h||30 min||2:30 h|
|250 km / h||24 min||2:00 h|
|300 km / h||20 min||1:40 h|
|350 km / h||17:08 min||1:26 h|
|400 km / h||15 minutes||1:15 h|
|450 km / h||13:20 min||1:07 h|
|500 km / h||12 min||1:00 h|
The Transrapid technology was planned especially for supra-regional traffic. It is currently not used in this area.
With regard to supraregional traffic, supporters of the system point to its innovation and modernity as well as to what they believe to be a “speed gap” between rail and plane, which the Transrapid could close. With a future theoretical maximum operating speed of up to 500 km / h (currently 432 km / h), the Transrapid system is located between classic high-speed trains with currently up to 320 km / h and air traffic (720-990 km / h). As a counter-argument, a narrowing of this market niche due to the high-speed infrastructure of wheel-rail systems, which is increasingly being expanded worldwide, and the great growth in air traffic are cited.
The average speed and not the maximum drivable speed is significant for reducing travel time. In a densely populated country like Germany with bus stops less than 100 km, the effect of maximum speeds on travel time is significantly reduced. Because of this problem, the concept of the ICE Sprinter provided for connections without intermediate stops. With the Transrapid, the negative effect of smaller stopping point intervals on the travel time is less than with the ICE due to its higher acceleration ability. From a standstill, the ICE reaches 300 km / h after 18 km, the Transrapid after 4 km. In addition, the effort to increase the average speed by means of maximum speeds increases disproportionately because of the high investments required in route construction requirements and high energy requirements. At the same time, the real gain in travel time decreases continuously when the average speed is increased by a certain amount (see table). The low benefit for the passenger makes it difficult to allocate the resulting costs to the fare. Above 300 km / h, railways have an increasingly problematic cost-benefit ratio.
By increasing the share of climate-neutral electricity generation, the already positive ecological balance of high-speed railways compared to short-haul air traffic could be further improved. More recent scientific studies have hypothesized that emissions in the upper air layers have a three times higher climate-damaging effect than the same amount of emissions near the ground. While a shift of short-haul air traffic to high-speed rail is therefore considered to be ecologically desirable, the economic conditions such as, in particular, the exemption from mineral oil tax on kerosene and the high costs of building and maintaining the railway lines have the opposite effect.
The French TGV takes three hours to cover the 750 km route from Marseille to Paris . Depending on the number of intermediate stops, it takes between 2:55 and 3:15 hours, with fares between 40 and 100 euros for a one-way trip. The travel time from city center to city center, which is comparable to short-haul air traffic, at an average speed of 250 km / h and a low fare lead to a successful competition. The German ICE takes between 5 and 6 hours on the comparable route from Hamburg to Munich. For a substitution of short-haul air traffic, neither new rail technology nor maximum speeds are absolutely necessary. The TGV travels on the route mentioned without stopping at speeds between 220 km / h and 320 km / h.
The Federal Ministry of Transport, which today sponsors the construction of the Transrapid, was still skeptical in 1989. Comparisons should have shown the superiority of the rail expansion, since the wheel / rail system, in contrast to the Transrapid, has European dimensions, identifies network formation, enables shared use by freight traffic and offers the possibility of immediate implementation.
Competition with bike / rail systems in local transport
Because of the comparatively high costs and the small number of stops, critics of the Transrapid technology prefer an extensive expansion of the classic public transport networks instead of individual Transrapid lines. The followers speak of a lighthouse project with high charisma and visibility at critical points.
For the connection of inner cities, above-ground Transrapid feeders have not yet been implemented despite some advantages over other modes of transport (potentially higher gradeability and narrower curve radii, lower noise pollution, higher speed).
A comparison of the resulting travel speed before and after the introduction of a Transrapid is case-specific and depends on the routing of the routes and on the modal split , the different sequence of the means of transport used depending on the start and destination of the travelers. It is significantly lower than the maximum system speed.
The Transrapid line , which is largely designed as an elevated railway , ends in Shanghai in the suburbs. With further expansion, parts will be built underground or further away from residential areas and the city center will only be affected to a limited extent in the future. When planning the route in Munich, the originally planned futuristic-looking elevated railway architecture was not accepted and dropped in favor of an underground connection to the city center. In the case of the Dutch Transrapid project, because of the difficulties involved in civil engineering in the Randstad, the acceptance of an above-ground route would be higher.
Local architectural and planning issues also play a role in the design and overall capacity, for example in the accessibility and dimensioning of platform lengths. Overall, for example, there was not a technically possible maximum value for the route to Munich Airport, but a passenger volume of 8–10 million passengers per year was assumed, which was comparable to the volume of inner-city tram lines.
The high acceleration ability, the low noise emissions at low speeds and the more flexible route options are the main advantages of the Transrapid compared to bike / rail systems in local traffic. With the development status 2002 of the Transrapid, which was designed as a long-distance traffic system, the usual short train distances in local traffic cannot be realized. The drive technology of the Transrapid requires, for example, that there is at least one free drive segment between two vehicles. The safety concept as of 2002 stipulates that the Transrapid only comes to a stop at regular or emergency stop points. The next stop must always be clear and no vehicle may be in this section. Since a drive section can only control one vehicle, unlike conventional drives, a stopping point cannot be approached simultaneously by several vehicles on the same route in order to stop there one behind the other. In connection with the Transrapid planning in North Rhine-Westphalia, which raised the problem of train distances in local traffic, further developments of the Transrapid technology for short train distances were considered possible. Information on development costs and additional costs for route construction and control technology when designing for short train distances was not given. The Metrorapid project provided for train intervals of 10 minutes; the Munich project did not allow simultaneous train movements on a route.
The market volume for high-speed trains in 2005 was around 100 billion euros. The segment is growing rapidly. In China alone, around 25,000 km of route with a requirement of around 1,000 vehicles were planned in 2007. In Europe, France and Spain are investing heavily in expanding the network for high-speed trains, and in particular in expanding and building new tram networks.
While there is talk of a renaissance of the tram around the world in the city center and billions of euros have been invested in the tram systems that were abandoned in many places in the 1960s and more are planned, a comparable market penetration and market success with the Transrapid, which is intensively advertised at the same time, is contrary to hopes for a promising high technology so far failed to materialize.
The interests of national politics and the national economy always play a role in the award of contracts. The wheel-rail system is usually without an alternative because of its better suitability for transporting goods when planning new long-distance routes.
Costs of new lines in comparison ICE - Transrapid
In the case of the Transrapid, the drive technology integrated in the route increases costs on new lines. On the other hand, the higher gradeability and the narrower curve radii of the Transrapid, which are possible at slow speeds, can lead to cost advantages on specific routes by eliminating the need for expensive bridges or tunnels. However, today tunnels are often built for reasons of nature conservation and route acceptance by the residents and not only when topographical necessity. Planning documents from 1998 show almost the same costs of around 17 million euros / double kilometer for the then planned ICE route Hanover-Berlin and the planned Transrapid route Hamburg-Berlin with comparably flat terrain. In principle, however, the newly built ICE high-speed routes also have large cost differences per kilometer. So only specific planning for a certain route can provide information about the construction costs of the respective systems and their differences.
Comparison of operating costs between ICE and Transrapid
The energy consumption and thus also the energy costs are higher with the Transrapid in high-speed operation for physical reasons, since traveling with z. B. 500 km / h requires more energy than traveling at 300 km / h. According to the state of the art of the ICE and Transrapid at the end of the 1990s, the Transrapid should have a lower energy consumption in the speed range around 300 km / h. The published calculations for maintenance costs have not yet been confirmed in practice. The result depends heavily on assumptions about the number of passengers. In contrast to the ICE, costs for the maintenance of vehicles and the route are based not on empirical values, but on assumptions.
In the publications on the Hamburg-Berlin project, the costs for vehicles and operations control technology were estimated to be significantly higher than for the ICE. However, neither the service life of the vehicles nor the annual mileage are comparable. The share of capital costs and depreciation for wear and tear per vehicle kilometer or per passenger kilometer in the operating costs can only be compared between ICE and Transrapid on the basis of concrete deployment planning and utilization assumptions. The acquisition costs of the Transrapid vehicles are about a factor of 3 higher than that of the ICE 3 and a factor of five than that of the S-Bahn railcars of the 423 series with comparable space but not comparable performance . Proponents of the Transrapid point to the high costs, which, in contrast to the ICE and S-Bahn series, are currently not in series production. It is generally assumed that the Transrapid as a faster means of transport is more attractive and achieves a higher passenger load. Economic comparisons between ICE and Transrapid are burdened with the uncertainty of this assumption.
Increased fares for the Transrapid were or are planned on all routes planned or built up to now. In Shanghai the Transrapid fare is 2.5 times the airport bus, in Munich a fare surcharge on top of the local transport tariff of five euros was provided for the Transrapid.
Economic importance of the Transrapid
The high investments in Transrapid lines are largely due to construction costs for tunnels, earthworks, building construction, etc., which in the case of export are mainly provided by national companies and do not lead to sales by German companies. The increased costs for the necessary raw materials, especially concrete, steel and copper, also reduce the share of technological added value in the total investments required.
ThyssenKrupp, the manufacturer of the Transrapid vehicles, posted sales of 51.3 billion euros for the 2006/2007 fiscal year, 49 million euros of which in the Transrapid division. Around 150 people were employed in this division in Kassel. The company's 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 risk reports state:
“In the case of the Transrapid, a specific follow-up project for the line in Shanghai and the testing of the already delivered prototype vehicle as part of the further development program are intended to further reduce the existing market risk. In addition, there is the prospect of realizing the Munich project once the financing situation has been clarified. "
“With the Transrapid, after the completion of the Munich project, the existing activities were restructured and adapted to the reduced sales and planning activities. In addition, restructuring expenses may result from the postponement of the planned Shanghai airport link project. "
In December 2008, the reduction in the number of employees at ThyssenKrupp Transrapid GmbH in Kassel from 166 to 100 was announced. The location was given up at the end of 2010. After the halls had been cleared, the work's symbol, a Transrapid 05, was transferred to the Kassel Technology Museum by employees.
The small share of the Transrapid division of 0.1% in the group turnover of ThyssenKrupp, the lack of commitment of ThyssenKrupp and Siemens in the financing of reference routes, the small investments of the companies in the new vehicle technology with so far 300 million euros and the lack of positive market prospects in the risk report are in contradiction to the affirmed superiority of technology and its potential economic importance.
Ten years after the end of the Transrapid project, ThyssenKrupp used magnetic levitation technology in 2018 to develop elevators whose cabins can move freely and are not attached to ropes.
Debate about failure of technology
In the context of the closure of the Transrapid plant in Kassel, the closure of the test route in Emsland, the failure to continue building the route in China and the lack of new orders, a debate arose in Germany in 2010 about the failure of the technology.
Reinhold Bauer, whose habilitation thesis is on the subject of failed innovations , thinks that technology has missed the time window. The train has become too fast and the plane has become too cheap. The taxpayers' association criticized further subsidies for the Transrapid. Burkhard Ewert, commentator for the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung , thinks that the Transrapid has come to an end and that too much rather than too little tax money has flowed into the technology.
On the other hand, failure is contradicted. The State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs Rainer Bomba says, the technology had been developed too soon 50 years old and should not be abandoned. The following transport projects are named as a result of the intensified sales efforts by the Federal Ministry of Transport and the construction company Max Bögl for a possible use of the Transrapid:
- In September 2010 Tenerife commissioned a feasibility study for 2 Transrapid routes on the island. The aim is to find out whether the Transrapid has advantages over a railroad in the difficult terrain of Tenerife. A newspaper commented on this project skeptically. Claudia Winterstein , parliamentary director of the FDP in the Bundestag, rated the project as unrealistic. A feasibility study presented in 2011, carried out under the leadership of the traffic scientist and former head of the Transrapid test route, Peter Mnich, confirms the technical feasibility at a cost of around 3.1 billion euros.
- Some transport projects in the USA, such as the connection to Pittsburgh Airport , for which the use of the Transrapid was also proposed, have been pending for years. The Transrapid was discussed for new projects.
- In Turkey there are considerations for a connection between the two airports of Istanbul with a Transrapid line.
- In Brazil , a new line of more than 500 kilometers is planned from Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo and on to Campinas . Politics and industry agreed on an application for this project during a meeting in August 2010. The construction company Max Bögl , which has been in charge of the acquisition work for the Transrapid since spring 2010, participated in the tender with specific route proposals. This tender was one of the reasons for the extension of test operations on the test track in 2009. According to another source (as of July 2011), a specific tender is still pending.
According to a company spokesman, the Transrapid is "on hold" at Siemens, and 25 people are still working on the technology at ThyssenKrupp (as of November 2010).
The operating license for the Transrapid test facility in Emsland expired at the end of 2011; the line was closed. Dismantling, scheduled for spring 2012, was postponed due to possible re-use by a planned center for electromobility.
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