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Among other reasons, the supporters of the planned Transrapid connection Hamburg - Berlin argue, that this planned levitation railway would be more economic with regard to its energy demand, and therefore also with regard to the its emissions, compared to a similar section in wheel-rail-technology: The energy demand of the Transrapid at a speed of 300 km/h would be as low as 47 Wh/seat/km*, compared to 71 Wh/seat/km for the ICE. Due to the low travel time of one hour at most between Hamburg and Berlin, a ride with the Transrapid would be such an attractive alternative that it would cause a considerable shift away from air and car transport to the electrically powered track-bound levitation railway. In such a way, the environment would be relieved: Air traffic between Hamburg and Berlin falls (...) to so negligible levels that regular lines will be brought to an end. Every single person who changes from airplane to the magnetic suspension railway reduces CO2-emissions by 36 kg. An end of air traffic between Hamburg and Berlin would result in a total CO2-reduction of 12,000 tons per year. (..) Every single person who changes from his car to the magnetic suspension railway reduces fuel consumption with approximately 6 liters per ride Berlin - Hamburg, thereby preserving resources. In total, this results in a reduction of fuel consumption of 30 million liters per year. This is equal to a reduction of CO2-emissions of 100,000 tons per year.*

With regard to the energy balance of the Transrapid it is pretended: Compared with the TRANSRAPID, specific primary energy demand is three times higher for car transport, five times higher for air transport, given comparable distance respectively.*

Experts doubt the alleged advantages of the magnetic suspension railway in comparison with the railway: Compared with the ICE under the correct and same conditions, the Transrapid does not have any relevant advantages with regard to energy consumption or the environment.* Considering the fact that the Transrapid is planned to commute much faster (planned maximum speed for the given route: 450 km/h) than the ICE (current maximum speed: between 250 and 280 km/h), one has to calculate with a clearly higher energy demand for the Transrapid as compared with the ICE because of aerodynamic reasons. Indirectly and as a consequence, one has to assume higher CO2-emissions of power plants. Therefore, it seems that a shift from the energy and emission intensive airplane and car to the magnetic suspension railway will not cause an improvement of the energy and emissions balance.

Consequently, the question must be asked: Can the Transrapid in the corridor Hamburg - Berlin contribute to a reduction of energy demand and emissions? Would such a reduction not also be possible by creating an optimised ICE-connection?

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