Germany was one of the first European countries to introduce the technology when a short track was opened in Hamburg for the 1979 International Transportation Exhibition. The train was developed by Transrapid, the company that went on to build a testing facility in Emsland.
Completed in 1984, it included a 31.5-km (19.5-mile) track that enabled maglev trains to hit up to 261 mph (420 kph). That's nowhere near as quick as the Japanese L0 version that reached 375 mph (603 kph) in 2015, but it was still entertaining to the passengers that were allowed to ride in it from time to time.
Unfortunately, these rides came to an abrupt end in 2006, when 23 people were killed after a train hit a maintenance vehicle on the track. Both the track and the factory were closed off in 2011 when Transrapid's operation license expired.
In early 2012, the German government approved the demolition and reconversion of the Emsland site. But while work began around 2016, most of the concrete structures are still standing. And according to the footage below, the testing facility is still home to a maglev train.
While recently released by YouTube's "HD1080ide," the footage is actually from 2020, so it's unclear whether the train is still there as we speak. But it's still a sad sight and proof that sometimes making an innovative product isn't enough to thrive.
Fortunately, the maglev system continues to expand, with new tracks set to be built in various parts of the world. And more importantly, the 2006 crash at Emsland was the first and last maglev incident to result in fatalities.