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GERMAN MAGLEV RAIL SYSTEM IMPERILED BY LACK OF SUPPORT

Whizzing along a monorail at more than 250 mph, the Transrapid was supposed to be the future of rail travel in train-loving Germany.

But the project seems about to grind to a halt after Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government gave new signs Tuesday that it intends to pull the plug.

Long opposed by environmentalists who contend that its electromagnetic radiation is a health hazard, the Transrapid has been doomed since the center-left coalition came to power last fall with the ecology-minded Greens as junior partner.

Schroeder's recent drive to cut federal spending has made it even less likely that the government will step in to save the sleek magnetic levitation train.

"As far as I'm concerned, the Transrapid is headed for a coffin," Kerstin Mueller, a leading Greens legislator, said Tuesday.

Scrapping the Transrapid would kill a prestige technology project and export hope for German industry.

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