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Germany, facts and history in brief

Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This should be the Lathen page, but this as close I can get to it. Lathen is an administrative unit in the district Emsland in Lower Saxony, Germany.

Population 10,815 source (2005)
Area 165.65 km²
Elevation 13 m
Licence plate code EL
Website www.lathen.de

Following villages (municipalities) are situated in Lathen: Fresenburg (887), Lathen (5,866), Niederlangen (1,214), Oberlangen (916), Renkenberge (682), Sustrum (1.250).

Emsland is a district in Lower Saxony, Germany.
It is bounded by (from the north and clockwise) the districts of Leer, Cloppenburg and Osnabrück, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (district of Steinfurt), the district of Bentheim and the Netherlands.

For a long time the Emsland was extremely sparsely populated, due to the fens on both sides of the river.
Small villages were established in medieval times along the river and on the Hümmling.
In the 13th century the bishops of Münster gained control over the region; the Emsland remained property of the bishop until 1803, when the clerical states were dissolved.
It came under Prussian rule, but after the Napoleonic Wars the Congress of Vienna decided to hand the territory over to the kingdom of Hanover.
It was now called the duchy of Arenberg-Meppen.
When Hanover was annexed by Prussia (1866), the dukes were deposed soon after.

The now Prussian province of Hanover was subdivided into districts in 1885; four districts were established on the territory of what is now the Emsland.
The districts were merged in 1977 to form the present district.

In 1950 a governmental plan for the development of Emsland was adopted.
It should turn the region into an industrial location.
This was made by draining the fens and establishing projects

like the test track of the maglev "Transrapid"
or several large shipyards in Papenburg.
Although Emsland lost much of its original character, some areas could retain their naturalness, for example the Hümmling.

The district is located on the Dutch border.
It is named after the Ems river, which crosses the region from south to north.
It is an absolutely plain countryside, which was once full of fens.
The only elevations are in the Hümmling, which is a hilly forest area east of the Ems.

September 22, 2006 accident
Wikinews has news related to: Transrapid collision in Germany kills 23
On September 22, 2006 an elevated Transrapid train collided with a maintenance vehicle on a test run at 170 kilometres per hour in Lathen (Lower Saxony / north-western Germany).
The train did not derail.
The maintenance vehicle destroyed the first section of the train, and came to rest on its roof.
This was the first major accident involving a Transrapid train.
Most of the passengers were in the first of the three sections of the Transrapid.
The news media is reporting 23 fatalities and several severely injured after end of salvage work, these being the first ever fatalities on any maglev.

There were two men on the maintenance vehicle. They saw the train approaching and jumped to the ground. This was four or five metres down - a minor fall. The passengers on the train had no way to escape, and those that survived were evacuated by emergency personnel.

The accident is reported to have been caused by a combination of human error and a technical flaw.
The maintenance vehicle carried out routine sweeps of the track to remove debris, fallen branches, etc. and is supposed to report back to the control centre via voice radio once it has cleared the track.
Control personnel should not allow the main train to depart the station before the maintenance vehicle has cleared, but it appears that they failed to check the maintenance vehicle's position before the Transrapid vehicle departed.

The compounding technical flaw was that although Transrapid vehicles on the guideway are automatically tracked and controlled by the OCS, the maintenance vehicle did not operate in the same way and thus was not known to the computerized control system.
Had the maintenance vehicle reported its position electronically as all Transrapid trains do, redundant computerized safety systems would never have allowed the passenger vehicle to approach.

The test track in Lathen is very simple. It consists of a main track and a single station with a side track. When you are in the station, it is easy to see whether the maintenance vehicle is somewhere on the track: if it is not parked in the station, it must be somewhere else.

The accident had also alarmed Shanghai, China, which also have their maglev train facilities built by Transrapid.

For a more information about Emsland see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emsland) see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, September 2005.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).

About Wikipedia

This information was correct in September 2005. E. & O.E.

Hui Chin and I sped across Hungary, Austria and Germany from Budapest to Lathen to look at and ride the German Transrapid at Lathen, in Emsland, north-east Germany, near the Dutch border, in late April 2005.

Lathen is a very pleasant little town and does have the Transrapid workshop and test track just outside (About 5 km), town.


You can click on these photos for an enlargement.


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