Fly train through Wuppertal

Although not really considered a bridge or viaduct per se, one of the places that is recommended is the city of Wuppertal in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and its prized Schwebebahn. Completed in 1901, the Bahn features a “flying” train that hangs from the track above. It was only slightly damaged during the bombings of World War II and was restored to its original form after the war ended, with only a few minor replacements. This guest column looks at the history of the Schwebebahn and how it has adapted to the changes that has occurred in Wuppertal since the end of the war 75 years ago. A video of the Bahn is included- just click on the link. Enjoy! 🙂

Architecture Here and There

View of downtown Wuppertal from the city’s famous “flying train.” (MoMA)

This old video, just over two minutes in length, takes viewers through the western German city of Wuppertal, population 354,382 (almost double that of Providence), on a “flying”  or “floating” train a year after its completion in 1901. The Schwebebahn is a suspension railway, a monorail hanging from tracks upheld by a system of bridge girders reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower. I almost wanted to call this post “Stairway to Heaven” because the cityscape through which the trams run is as lovely as urbanism gets. The tight-knit townhouse frontages wind with the curvature of the Wupper River, along which much of the train runs. Would that the video were longer! Would that the experience could be relived in the city today!

Alas, it cannot be. Although the Schwebebahn survives, some 40 percent of Wuppertal’s buildings were destroyed by…

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