The Birmingham Airport Maglev is a defunct Maglev system that linked the center of Birmingham International Airport to The Exhibition Center and to Birmingham International railway station. When it was constructed in 1984, it was the first Maglev system in the world.

In 1995 it was closed and replaced by Air Rail Link due to a lack of reliability.

History[edit | edit source]

Initial feasibility studies for a link from the airport to the railway station and exhibition center were started in 1979 by the owners of the airport at that time, West Midlands County Council. The selected solution was based on experimental work commissioned by the British government.

Contracts were awarded in 1981 to a consortium involving GEC, Balfour Beatty, Brush Electrical Machines and Metro Cammell under the name "People Mover Group", along with John Laig plc. The carriages were manufactured by Metro Cammell at their Washwood Heath plant in Birmingham.The system was opened on 16 August 1984.

As built, the length of the track was 600 meters (2,000 ft), and trains "flew" at an altitude of 15 millimeters (0.59 in). The line operated successfully for nearly eleven years, but problems with the electronic systems, and a lack of spare parts, made it unreliable in its later years. The system - having been deemed to expensive to maintain - closed in July 1995.

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