BERLIN, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The government of the German city-state Berlin is planning to test magnetic levitation (maglev) trains for passenger and freight transportation, local media reported on Monday. This type of transportation was last used in the capital more than 30 years ago.
The five-kilometer pilot project is expected to cost up to 85 million euros (92.7 million U.S. dollars), the Tagesspiegel and Berliner Morgenpost newspapers reported.
According to Dirk Stettner, parliamentary group leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Berlin, the construction of maglev trains would be comparatively inexpensive and could be realized much faster than a subway line. In view of the shortage of skilled workers, another advantage is that the train could be operated without a driver.
Berlin's Senator for Mobility Manja Schreiner said that one had to "think about every form of transportation in a growing city." The maglev train is an "innovative project for the future," she told local media.
A date and exact route for the implementation have not yet been set. After the last maglev operation in Berlin ended with Germany's reunification in 1991, the CDU has been campaigning for years for its reintroduction, aiming at connecting the capital's Brandenburg (BER) airport.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, several projects were launched in Germany for high-speed maglev connections on major routes, such as Berlin-Hamburg, but those German plans failed. ■