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Ride The Wuppertal Schwebebahn For A Train Journey With A Difference

Suspension monorail
Experience the suspension monorail in Wuppertal, Germany [Image Wuppertal und die Schwebebahn on Facebook]
In the last couple of years, train travel has taken off as a greener way to go. More high-speed trains are running now than ever before, plus old-fashioned sleeper trains are coming back with a vengeance. However, for any traveler who is blasé about train journeys, there is one unique choice on offer in Wuppertal in Germany. Read on to learn more about the suspension monorail known as the Schwebebahn.

Wuppertal’s suspension monorail is a unique train journey

Climb on board the suspension monorail in Wuppertal, Germany
[Image Wuppertal und die Schwebebahn on Facebook]
Popular with locals, commuters and travelers alike, the suspension monorail (Schwebebahn) a landmark in the little-known city of Wuppertal in Germany. It travels 13 km (8 mi) through the city above the Wupper River and only four of its 20 stops run above solid ground.

According to the website, more than 80,000 people use the suspension monorail daily. While it is an everyday means of transport for commuters in the city, it is also a hugely popular tourist attraction and many of the city’s sights can be accessed easily on foot from the 20 train stations.

Wuppertal is just east of Dusseldorf in Germany and while it has several tourist attractions, the suspension railway is likely the best. Traveling in the carriages, suspended from a central track gives excellent views of the town and the Wupper River, but the best view can be found from the panoramic window at the back of the train.

For those not seeking to get off the train at a particular station, the ride of the full route takes around half an hour. However, if you want to do the return route, you’ll need to disembark while the suspension monorail runs through the terminus to head back along the line.

Meanwhile, unlike many city transport systems, like the London Underground or Madrid Metro run underground, Wuppertal’s train is very visible throughout the city. Moreover, with its history, it is celebrated as part of the city’s identity.

How did the Schwebebahn suspension monorail come about?

Take a train journey with a difference
[Image Wuppertal und die Schwebebahn on Facebook]
The journal of Wuppertal’s Schwebebahn started 200 years ago when an Englishman named Henry Robinson Palmer designed the system. Originally, it used hanging transport containers pulled by horses. However, it took another 80 years before work began on the new electric system used today. While originally, the suspension monorail was offered to larger cities like Berlin and Munich, it was eventually installed in what is now Wuppertal.

Back at the start of the 21st century, it was three separate towns – Barmen, Elberfield and Vohwinkel. However, within the next 30 years, the towns had spread so much thanks to the suspension monorail that they merged to become Wuppertal.

The main reason for building a suspension monorail was that the city was built on hard rock, meaning an underground rail system wasn’t possible. It was then decided to run the monorail along the river’s route.

How can you ride the Schwebebahn?

The suspension monorail is a unique way to travel in Wuppertal, Germany
[Image Wuppertal und die Schwebebahn on Facebook]
Taking a ride on the Schwebebahn can be a fun day out from spending a vacation in Dusseldorf. From Dusseldorf take the train to Wuppertal Hauptbahnhof, where you connect with the Schwebebahn. The journey to get there only takes around 20 minutes. Alternatively heading to Wuppertal from Cologne is a 30- to 45-minute train journey.

Meanwhile, Wuppertal is worth visiting for more than the suspension monorail. It has recently been included in a list of the best-hidden gems in Europe for 2024 by European Best Destinations.

Meanwhile, the city claims to be the greenest town in Germany, meaning travelers are never more than a 10-minute walk from open green spaces. Among the outdoor attractions are der Grüne Zoo Wuppertal, the Waldfrieden Sculpture Park and the beautiful botanical gardens.

Those seeking art will appreciate the Von der Heydt Museum, with art dating from the 17th century from artists like Cezanne, Gauguin and Monet. Meanwhile, the city boasts two transport museums including the Bergische Museumsbahn, which offers heritage tram rides on Saturdays throughout the year.

Find out more about Wuppertal’s Schwebebahn on the suspension monorail’s website here.



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