- Title: GERMANY: Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee visits train crash site
- Date: 23rd September 2006
- Summary: SIGN READING "TRANSRAPID TEST FACILITY EMSLAND" GRIEVING PEOPLE DRESSED IN BLACK WALKING TOWARDS VISITOR CENTRE, WHERE COUNSELLORS ARE GIVING SUPPORT TO VICTIMS' RELATIVES WIDE OF PEOPLE STANDING AROUND NEAR VISITOR COUPLE WEARING BLACK HUGGING AND COMFORTING EACH OTHER
- Reuters ID: LVA6SSGYWW2QWZXV4ODLOOZASBQ5
- Location: Germany
- Country: Germany
- Duration: 00:00:37
- Topics: Disasters / Accidents / Natural catastrophes
- Story Text: German's transport minister Wolfgang Tiefensee on Saturday (September 23) visited the scene of Friday's crash between a high-tech magnetic train and a maintenance vehicle in northern Germany, which killed 23 people.
The clear-up was continuing at the site as some mourners arrived at the visitors' centre at the site where counsellors were available.
Tiefensee expressed his deepest sympathy for the relatives of the victims and for the injured. He had broken off a visit to China to return to Germany following news of the crash. He said that the Chinese railways minister had also expressed his condolences after hearing the news of the accident.
Despite numerous proposals for its use across the world, the only train of its kind in commercial use is as a shuttle from the centre of the Chinese city of Shanghai to its airport.
However Tiefensee urged people not to draw any conclusions about the Transrapid technology and its future until all facts were known: "then we will have to check whether the results have an influence on the technology and the technological development and I urgently advise people not to prematurely draw conclusions," he said.
The elevated Transrapid, one of the world's fastest trains, collided with a maintenance truck and its two-man crew at a speed of at least 200 km per hour (120 miles per hour) on the track in the Emsland district of Germany near the Dutch border.
The passengers were acquaintances of Transrapid workers and employees of utility group RWE.
The train's operating authority, IABG, said initial findings suggested the crash had been the result of human error. It said it had found no evidence of any technical failure.
The crash occurred at around 10 a.m. (0800 GMT) on Friday on a 32-km (20 mile) figure-of-eight circuit built as a test facility for the train, which floats on a magnetic cushion.
The train, which rides on a track supported by concrete stilts around five metres above ground, was not derailed in the accident, officials said, but its height made rescue difficult.
The costly train, which set a speed record of 450 kph in 1993, was developed by Transrapid International, a joint venture between German industrial firms Siemens AG and ThyssenKrupp.
Travelling at three times the speeds of normal steel-wheel trains, the "mag-lev" Transrapid floats on a magnetic cushion one cm (half an inch) above the track. It has no fuel source on board and its makers have said that it cannot derail.
A generation of German engineers have been testing the sleek white train, which has the potential to drastically reduce journey times, since the late 1960s.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2011. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Embargoed:8th October 2006 13:00
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None