Wednesday, 8 January 2020

More from Wuppertal

Suspension railways (Schweberbahnen) are reasonably rare systems, there being one in Memphis, USA ...
... examples in Japan ...
... in India ...
... and under development in China.
But Wuppertal has been in operation continuously (apart from essential repairs) since 1901.
"Essential repairs" have included almost complete rebuilding with stronger supports and track girders, as well as replacement of trains, its newest being articulated and very swish.
Stations have been improved or rebuilt as has the signalling system.
Until August 2019, the Schwebebahn used block signalling like other light- and heavy rail systems. Signals with red, green and yellow lights, present at every station, signalled the driver if the next block, usually continuing until the next station, was free or not. The yellow aspect was mostly used to warn about construction work ahead, while a blinking red light warned about more severe problems.

Today, the Schwebebahn uses the European Train Control System, allowing for shorter distances between trains.

One heritage unit remains ...
Wilhelm II and his consort Auguste Viktoria themselves rode the suspension railway on 24 October 1900, on an imperial trial run from Döppersberg to Vohwinkel. How fortunate that Carriage No. 5 has been preserved for posterity.

The nostalgic Imperial Carriage is now available for you and your festivities. Glide imperially with your guests over the Wupper river - an unforgettable experience! There are enough occasions for festivities in the Imperial Carriage: birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, stag parties or weddings...
... or for a delicate afternoon tea! Yummy!
To hire the tram-train (Dangelbahn) for a round trip costs €513 and fbb guesses that tea and buns are extra.

At least one company will sell you a souvenir of the Keiserwagen.
Zum 100. Jubiläum der Wuppertaler Schwebebahn im Jahr 2001 wurde in unserem Atelier ein limitiertes Schwebebahncollier entworfen, dass in 925/- und 585/- Gelbgold gefertigt wurde. Beide Varianten waren schnell vergriffen, die Nachfrage aber nach wie vor groß. Anders als so mancher Uhrenhersteller, der in diesem Fall die Farbe eines Zeigers geändert hätte, entschieden wir uns für ein völlig neues Design. Der "neue" Kaiserwagen wurde etwas kräftiger, schwerer und wertiger.

Als nicht-limitierte Edition ist das Collier bei uns ab € 59.- erhältlich.

At each end of the line there is a substantial depot ...
... which includes a sharp turning loop as the units are single ended.
A superb system, but fbb can hear his mother saying "You'll not get me up in that thing, dangling there over a river - it can't be safe!"  She was, as was said at the time, "of nervous disposition". But the line has been remarkably accident free with two notable exceptions. One involved tragedy and one came close.

And it all began in Cheshunt, Hertforshire.

 The Tale of Tuffi blog : Thursday 9th January 


  1. Andrew Kleissner8 January 2020 at 09:12

    Has anyone mentioned Britain's own Schwebenbahn, the George Bennie Monorail? Unlike the Wuppertal system it was propeller driven and had a bottom stabilising rail - which made the supporting gantries even uglier! The carriage however was lovely!

  2. I spent a week in the Ruhr in the mid 1980s and visited the Schwebebahn. Then there was a timetable curiosity in that half the service turned at the Zoo on Sunday mornings. There was no loop so how do you turn the cars? Simple, a turntable to swing the entire car from one track to the other. At the Vohwinkel end the street was built after the SB which ran through open country at first. Also at Vohwinkel the Solingen Trolleybuses ran under the SB with the overhead suspended from it. If you travelled by TB through Solingen to Burg An Der Wupper the terminus was an electric trolleybus turntable which could take articulated TBs.
    Alas, it has all gone now, Zoo station has been rebuilt, the TBs turned short at Vohwinkel and at Burg battery power takes them across the bridge into the village. Orogress I suppose, but not so much fun.

    Alan Simpkins (another retired bus man)