Fines for supervisors in German maglev crash

24th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

Supervisors found responsible for the horrific maglev train crash, which claimed 23 lives in 2006, have been heavily fined

Osnabrueck -- A German court imposed fines on two supervisors it found responsible on Friday for a high speed magnetic levitation train smash that claimed 23 lives on a German test track almost two years ago.

The court sitting in the north-western city of Osnabrueck near where the accident occurred on September 22, 2006, found the men guilty of causing death and injury through negligence.

It imposed fines of 24,000 and 20,000 euros respectively, in line with what prosecutors had demanded. Defence lawyers had urged the court to acquit the two men.

The Transrapid, as the train is known, crashed into a 50-ton maintenance vehicle on the test track near Lathen in the Emsland region close to the Dutch border. 11 people were injured.

It was travelling at 170 kilometres per hour and came to a halt after 500 metres with wreckage dangling over the sides of the elevated track.

The driver was among those killed in the crash, Germany's worst rail disaster since 1998, when 101 people died as an express derailed and smashed into a bridge near the northern town of Eschede.

The two defendants were accused of failing to set out procedures for the use of a blocking system to prevent a train from entering a section of track when there is another vehicle on it.

An electronic blocking system was available at the test track, but was not activated at the time of the accident, according to experts.

The maglev train was manufactured by Transrapid International, a joint company of Siemens and ThyssenKrupp, which was disbanded earlier this year.

The only Transrapid in commercial service operates in China between downtown Shanghai and the city's airport. The city of Munich considered a similar link, but the project was dropped because of its cost.

Magnetic levitation systems use high power magnets to glide the trains along the tracks without friction at speeds of up to 450 kilometres per hour.

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