Engineers convicted in maglev accident

Two German engineers were convicted of manslaughter on Friday for their part in a 2006 maglev train accident that killed 23 and injured 11 passengers.

Engineers convicted in maglev accident
Photo: DPA

The Osnabrück regional court fined the managing director of the track, Jörg Metzner, and his colleague, Guenter Steinmetz, €20,000 ($31,445) and €24,000 respectively.

Both men had faced a possible five-year prison sentence in the September 2006 accident that occurred when a test-Transrapid train travelling at 170 kilometres per hour (106 miles per hour) collided with a maintenance vehicle near the western town of Lathen.

The accident could have been avoided if a proper roadblock had been activated.

Defense lawyers for Steinmetz and Metzner appealed the ruling, but Steinmetz told reporters on Friday he did not expect they would be successful.

The main suspect in the accident, the supervising driver who gave the train the green light to start, has been found unfit for trial because he became suicidal after the event.

Problems have plagued Germany’s plans to build a maglev – or magnetic levitation – train line in Munich. In late March the government announced it was giving up on the project due to massive cost increases.

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).