China gives positive signals on Transrapid: Stolpe

8th June 2005, Comments 0 comments

8 June 2005, BEIJING - China has given "positive signals" on the possible use of German technology for a 150-kilometre extension of the world's first commercial magnetic levitation (maglev) railway line, transport minister Manfred Stolpe said on Wednesday.

8 June 2005

BEIJING - China has given "positive signals" on the possible use of German technology for a 150-kilometre extension of the world's first commercial magnetic levitation (maglev) railway line, transport minister Manfred Stolpe said on Wednesday.

After talks with railway officials in Beijing, Stolpe said he expected the Chinese government to decide within the next month if it will use technology from Germany's Transrapid consortium to complete a 180-kilometre maglev link between the eastern cities of Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Stolpe said Chinese officials told him an ongoing first feasibility study on the use of maglev technology to upgrade China's high-speed railways showed "positive signals" for the Shanghai-Hangzhou line.

The Transrapid consortium, led by Siemens and Thyssen-Krupp, provided technology for a 30-kilometre link to Shanghai's main airport, and the extension would complete a line from Shanghai to Hangzhou.

But Chinese railway officials remain concerned that if maglev technology is used more widely, it could be hard to integrate with conventional high-speed lines and could clash with or slow down the overall plan to modernise China's railways.

Stolpe said he "tried to convince them that both (maglev and conventional high-speed systems) are possible". "There is no need to fear competition between the two systems," he said.

He said the two sides also agreed that a trial run of a coal train from the northern Chinese city of Hohhot to Duisburg in Germany had shown a "very positive result".

The train arrived in Duisburg after 16 days, via Mongolia and Russia. Coal sent from China to Germany by sea would normally take about 23 to 30 days.

Stolpe said more evaluation of routes and costs would take place, with a view to possibly running coal trains to Germany one to three times per week.

During talks in Beijing, Stolpe also discussed the expansion of cooperation between Air China and Lufthansa. He said talks were under way to bring Air China into the Star Alliance, which groups Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways International, United and 12 other airlines.

On Monday, Stolpe and Chinese minister of railways Liu Zhijun signed an agreement to strengthen cooperation in railway technology and personnel training.

DPA

Subject: German news

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