The Iraqi governorate of Karbala has approved plans to build a Magnetic Levitating Train (Maglev) that will link four provinces together.

The train will link Karbala with Najaf, Babel and Baghdad. The project is aimed at facilitating the transport of Shi’ite pilgrims and other tourists around the city.

Maglev is a system that suspends, guides and propels vehicles, usually trains, using magnetic levitation from a very large number of magnets. Using this method can make a train network faster and quieter than wheeled mass transit systems.

The Planning and Reconstruction Commission, part of Karbala council, will oversee the development of the project.

Iraq is planing a number of other rail projects including the $3bn Baghdad metro.

Canada’s Transglobim International is also building a 37-kilometre long monorail system in Najaf to accommodate pilgrims. In January, France’s Alstom signed an agreement with Baghdad Municipality to discuss the possibility of signing a contract to build a $600m Baghdad Elevated Train project (MEED 24:1:11). The project involves building a 25-km line on a viaduct that is aimed at reducing congestion in the city. It will link the areas of Al-Mustansiriya and Alawi al-Hilla in central Baghdad.