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Transrapid is a German monorail system using magnetic levitation. Based on a patent from 1934, planning of an actual Transrapid system started in 1969. The test facility for the system in Emsland, Germany was completed in 1987, and in 1989 a transrapid train reached a record breaking speed of 436 kilometers per hour.

During the 1990s, intense political discussions about the Transrapid started in Germany. Though technically superior to normal railroad systems, the transrapid was considered too expensive. Plannings for a track from Berlin to Hamburg were cancelled because no fundings were available for such a long track (292 kilometers).

In the year 2000, the Chinese government ordered a Transrapid track to be build connecting Shanghai to its airport. It was inaugurated in 2002. Commercial exploitation is planned for 2003.

In the year 2002, it had been decided that a track connecting the cities of Düsseldorf and Dortmund via the city of Essen should be built with financial help by the federal government. Later, a second track between the two cities might have been built closing the loop via Wuppertal. This track was expected to be operational in 2007 though it was earlier expected to be ready for the 2006 soccer world championship in Germany. However, the project has been cancelled as of June 27th, 2003.

A second track will connect the city of Munich to its airport in the state of Bavaria.

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