The Korea Times has a report on the UTM2, an unmanned magnetic levitation train that the Korean government plans to launch in 2012.

`We plan to build a 7 kilometer railway by 2012 on which automatic maglev trains will travel 110 kilometers per hour’

This is quite a modest test track in both size and speed but it’s a starting point. The German designed Maglev in Shanghai linking the airport to the Pudong area runs at a top speed of 430Km/hr and is 30Km long.

The main difficulty associated with Maglevs is that they require a dedicated monorail line. So it needs to have a high throughput of passengers to make it viable economically. Korea should be able to provide this.

It is good that Korea is building a Maglev. The technology got some bad press recently after a fatal crash in Germany but it is safe if it is managed correctly.