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Wuppertal Schwebebahn – January, 2020

After a long overnight trip from Venice, I arrived at Wuppertal mid-afternoon. Before even reaching the town, the Wuppertal Schwebebahn was already visible from the ICE. This had always been in the must-do area of my to-do list and I was happy to finally be here. I wasn't happy about the weather, but beggars can't be choosers... it was winter.


The first thing to do was find a hotel, but before you even get to town you have to cross under the Schwebebahn.


The closest and most convenient hotel I could find on maps was the Holiday Inn Express. I rocked up and asked for a room facing the railway and all was provided. Note that I've just googled now and found Gunstige B&B Hotel Wuppertal which seems to have much better views and Schwebebahn artwork in each room!?! Good reason to go back again... but in summer.


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Just standing out front of the hotel provided enough entertainment thanks to ~6 minute service headways on a weekday!

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And then I just wandered back and forth along the railway. You can buy a 4-ride ticket for around ~10 Euro and then just validate it when required. Actually, the validation is a little funny as it's really just a stamp card... but it's a flimsy piece of paper and you need to fit four stamps on it. Fortunately it was never checked, so I don't know if I was doing it correctly. Note that the website says that each ride on the 4-ride ticket can be 'continued' as long as you're going in the same direction... so hop-on-hop-off as much as you like!


As you can see above, the whole railway is build elevated with over 50% of it above the Wupper River. The railway was built in 1901 and had a perfect safety record until 1999 when a clamp was left on the line after maintenance works. Due to the design of the steel arches, the railway survived both wars. The vehicles have recently been renewed and actually felt very modern!

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The vehicles hang onto the track via multiple overhead supporting arms. Each arm has two wheels attached that run along a rail. The wheels have flanges on both sides, making sure that they straddle the rail at all times.

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Each vehicle has only one control stand, at one end of the consist. This is due to the fact that they can perform hairpin turns at either end of the line.

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At Vohwinkel Station, there's a junction in the track allowing the trains to head into the maintenance shed. Just like monorails, the entire frame has to shift laterally to slot in a new section of track.


Street running

Towards the western end of the line, the railway runs above a street, between both commercial and residential buildings. This also happens to be the area where a crane managed to tear open the bottom of one vehicle, injuring multiple passengers.


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Random Locations

From here, I'll just throw up batches of locations that I found interesting. With the rain and the cold, I just tried to get to as-picturesque-locations-as-possible. It'll be really nice to come back in Summer!


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Below was all taken around the Bayer plant. It turns out there's a huge manufacturing plant here that spans multiple buildings on both sides of the river.


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Varresbecker Straße Station to DB Zoologischer Garten Station

On the final morning, I wanted to depart Wuppertal west for Dusseldorf. I could've just taken the train from the Hbf, but instead decided to use the rest of my 4-ride ticket and check out the pathway between Varresbecker Straße Station to DB Zoologischer Garten Station. This secure corridor takes you through the middle of the Bayer plant, although you wouldn't really know as it's totally sheltered.


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That e-waste bin above was interesting... I was hoping to find an Amiga inside, but it's bloody secure.

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From here it was off to Dusseldorf on the first westbound DB service.

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