“The Munich magnetic levitation train project has collapsed,” said German Transportation Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee after an emergency meeting in Berlin on Thursday. Bavarian state premier Günther Beckstein and head of Siemens Peter Löscher were also at the meeting.
The high-speed Transrapid monorail project was to link downtown Munich with the city’s airport, and would have been the first of its kind in Germany. A 2002 feasibility study estimated the project would cost €1.85 billion, but expenses have exploded to almost €3 billion. The state of Bavaria and the German government agreed to finance the project together in September 2007 after intense financial negotiations. The federal government planned for a maximum payment of €925 million, while Bavaria agreed on a figure of €500 million.
The world’s only commercial Transrapid monorail is in Shanghai, China, running between the city centre and the airport. The train operates at speeds of up to 450 kilometres per hour (270 miles per hour).