Two go on trial for magnetic train crash deaths
Two men are being charged with causing death and injury through negligence following the 2006 crash of a high speed magnetic train.
Osnabrueck -- Two men went on trial on Tuesday in connection with the crash of a high speed magnetic levitation train in Germany nearly 20 months ago.
23 people died and 11 were injured when the Transrapid crashed into a maintenance vehicle on the test track near Lathen in the Emsland region close to the Dutch border.
The managers are accused of failing to implement the necessary safety precautions before the high-speed train travelled along the monorail track.
The two men, aged 67 and 50, are charged with causing death and injury through negligence. Charges were also filed against the man who gave the order for the train to start its journey but were later suspended because he was unfit to stand trial.
The Transrapid slammed into the maintenance vehicle at 170 kilometres an hour during a test run on September 22, 2006.
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 are accused of failing to set out procedures for the use of an absolute 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. The only Transrapid in commercial service operates in China between downtown Shanghai and the city's airport.
The German city of Munich considered a similar link, but the project was dropped earlier this year because of the 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.