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Maglev train (2020 in Shanghai): driverless on the road

Photo: Imaginechina-Tuchong / IMAGO

Berlin wants to test the use of a maglev train in the capital on a five-kilometer-long pilot route. This was announced by the chairman of the CDU parliamentary group, Dirk Stettner. He is also a proponent of the metro network, but also sees the advantages of the maglev train. The most important factor here is that the lines can be built much faster and cheaper than new subway lines.

Another advantage, not least against the background of the shortage of skilled workers at the Berlin Transport Authority (BVG), is that the magnetic levitation train is driverless. Previously, several Berlin media had reported on the plans. Accordingly, there is an agreement with the coalition partner SPD.

Stettner cited the sum of 80 to 85 million euros as the cost of the test track. There is no item for this in the new double budget. The pilot project is to be financed from the special fund for climate protection, for which five billion euros have initially been earmarked and from which the black-red governing coalition wants to pay for climate protection measures that will help Berlin become climate-neutral before 2045.

Stettner did not initially provide information on where the pilot route could lead through the city, as reported by the »Tagesspiegel«. According to the information, it has not yet been determined when construction will begin.

The idea of having a maglev train run through Berlin is not new. The CDU had brought the issue up several times. A route from the outskirts of the city to the capital's BER airport was also discussed. In June, however, Transport Senator Manja Schreiner was cautious about this, pointing out that, in her view, there is already a good connection to BER, which will be further improved by the completion of the Dresden Railway line, for example.

The Greens, however, are critical of the current plans. "After cable cars that never came, now suspension railways. What's next?" said Stefan Gelbhaar, transport policy spokesman for the Greens. In 2020, the CDU parliamentary group in Spandau wanted to campaign for a cable car to be built between Wannsee and Kladow in order to better develop the south of Spandau in terms of transport policy. "There's nothing wrong with creative ideas, but if you can't even do the basic homework, maybe you should get some smaller ramekins."

As early as 1984, there had been an M-Bahn (maglev) in Berlin, initially in test operation, for a short time also in regular operation between Gleisdreieck and Kemperplatz, which was ended after reunification in 1991.

Hamburg is also considering the construction of a maglev train line, which could one day run from the Stellingen S-Bahn station to the arenas at the Volkspark, as reported by the »Hamburger Abendblatt«. Such a pilot project is being discussed, it was said in October.