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At the Berlin Trade Fair of 1879, Werner von Siemens presented the first electric railway in which the power was supplied through the rails. The electric locomotive pulled a train of three small demonstration carriages around a 300-meter-long circular track at the exhibition site, running at a speed of 7 km/h.
At the instigation of Werner von Siemens, a test track for rail-less electric vehicles was set up in Berlin-Halensee in 1881. Only one year later, Siemens & Halske introduced the Elektromote, an electric bus powered by an overhead contact line. Since research in subsequent years focused on the further development of rail systems, the first Siemens O-Bus did not go into operation until 1901.
The first underground railway in continental Europe was completed by Siemens in Budapest in 1896, after only two years of construction. The 3.75 km route led from the city center on the banks of the Danube to a wood just outside the city, a favorite place for outings. In its first year, the subway transported over four million passengers, more than any previous railway.
In 1899, Siemens, AEG and other companies joined forces to improve the operation of express trains. In 1903, a three-phase express railcar from Siemens attained a sensational maximum speed of 210 km/h on the Marienfelde-Zossen test route near Berlin.
In 1924, Siemens set up Germany's first automatic traffic signal system in a traffic tower on Potsdamer Platz in Berlin - the three adjacent signal lamps lit up in red, yellow and green.
Computers of all sizes contribute to train safety and automate railway operation. In 1977, Germany's largest marshalling yard was commissioned in Maschen near Hamburg. This fully automated and computer-controlled facility was supplied with signaling equipment and master computers by Siemens.
Work on the development of suspended railways - named after their hanging cabins - has continued since the nineteen seventies. A public demonstration model was set up by Siemens in Dortmund as a shuttle train to the university and officially commissioned in 1984.
In 1985, Siemens was appointed the lead contractor for the electrical and electronic components of the ICE driving units in a project run by the German National Railroad. The second generation of ICE driving units, which was even more flexible, went into operation in 1996. The ICE 3 was designed to run on four different line voltages, so that its range was extended to cover the whole of Europe.
The heated catalytic converter dramatically reduces an automobile's polluting emissions in the starting phase. Siemens introduced a catalytic converter specially designed for diesel engines in 1995; it reduced polluting emissions of nitrogen oxides by up to 95 percent.
Siemens installed the world's first integrated taxiing guidance and ground monitoring system at Oslo airport. Computer-controlled light signals replace the "Follow Me" vehicles to guide the aircraft according to the prevailing traffic situation between take-off and landing runways and parking and docking positions.
At the end of 1997, Siemens presented the Siemens-Schottel Propulsor, which had been jointly developed with the Schottel shipyard. It is accommodated in a pod which can be rotated by 360 degrees under the ship's hull. The propulsion system uses about 10 percent less fuel than conventional solutions.
The future-oriented high-pressure diesel injection system is built around the piezo-hydraulic valve developed by Siemens - a leading international innovation with its switching time of 0.1 milliseconds. Through the extremely accurate dosing of the fuel, the direct injection process has been considerably improved.
After over 150 years of railroads, a new technology is ready for practical application: electromagnetic levitation with the Transrapid. The basic trials were begun in the 1970s and opened up completely new perspectives: maximum speeds of over 550 km/h and a 10 percent gradient capability - three times higher than that of the rail-wheel system - and more environmentally compatible than the ICE. In 2003 the new technology is being used commercially for the first time in China to link Shanghai with Pudong Airport.