Germany to build maglev railway
BBC Tuesday, 25 September 2007, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Germany has come up with the funds to launch its first magnetic levitation - or maglev - rail service.
The state of Bavaria is to build the high-speed railway line from Munich city centre to its airport, making it Europe's first commercial track.
Maglev trains use electric-powered magnets that enable them to float above their tracks, allowing for much faster speeds than traditional rail services.
The 1.85bn-euro ($2.6bn; £1.3bn) project had faced financing problems.
However, the Bavarian state government said it had signed an agreement with rail operator Deutsche Bahn and industrial consortium Transrapid that includes the developers of the train - Siemens and ThyssenKrupp.
The only regular maglev service at present is in China, where the floating train whisks travellers between Shanghai's airport and the city's financial district.
The maglev, which has a top speed of more than 500km/h (310mph), is regarded as a symbol of German technological prowess.
However, the maglev project suffered a set back in September 2006 when a train collided with a parked maintenance vehicle on a test run in northern Germany, killing 23 people.
Japan has said it aims to launch its first maglev rail service by 2025.
No date was given for the launch of the Munich service.