Stefan Bögl, head of a medium-sized construction company from the Upper Palatinate, is convinced that the magnetic levitation train has a future. “The need for mobility is increasing, especially for local transport systems,” says Bögl in the podcast “Fast Lane” from Tagesspiegel Background Verkehr
So far, however, a buyer has only been found in China. A maglev made by Bögl has been in use on an eleven-kilometre demonstration route for a good year. Stefan Bögl would also like to see a demonstration route in Munich, for example for passenger traffic between terminals and airport parking areas. So far, such ideas have not gone beyond studies .
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In contrast to the “Transrapid” of the companies Siemens and Thyssen from the 1980s, the Transport System Bögl (TSB) is only designed for speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour. The Transrapid should hover up to 600 kilometers per hour.
But the magnetic levitation train, developed with great political support, was a flop. Except for the airport connection in Shanghai, the train was never used regularly. A serious accident on the test track in Emsland ended the history of the Transrapid in Germany in 2006.
The building contractor Bögl is now betting that the megacities of Asia in particular could be interested in his TSB. “Urbanization is increasing, especially in Asia.” In China alone there are over 100 cities with more than a million inhabitants. “The Chinese are very open-minded” and the cities have few conventional local transport systems such as metros or light rail, Bögl continued in the podcast.
The company works with the former head of the Transrapid test track, Günter Steinmetz. Bögl is building the line for the magnetic train itself, and according to the company boss, it accounts for 70 percent of the total investment. It is “obvious to offer the entire system”. The vehicles are created in cooperation with suppliers.
The Transrapid also failed in Europe because it needs its own lane. For Stefan Bögl, however, this is an advantage if the magnetic train hovers five to six meters above the ground on the second level and the areas below can still be used. Maglev trains are also interesting as an extension of subways into the surrounding area or as ring trains around cities.
Costs and construction time also speak in favor of the suspension railway. One kilometer costs about as much as a comparable tram route, i.e. 25 to 50 million euros. And a maglev train could be operational in two to three years. Subways, on the other hand, cost hundreds of millions of euros and would take decades to complete.
The family company Max Bögl reaches roads, bridges, tunnels and houses. The company from Sengenthal has a turnover of two billion euros and employs 6,000 people. Her list of references includes buildings such as the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt or the Berlin Central Station. But Bögl also produces railway tracks out of concrete.