What’s it like to ride the suspension monorail in Wuppertal?
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Today was my son’s first ride on the suspension monorail in the city of Wuppertal, which became famous in 1950 when circus elephant Tuffi jumped out of the Schwebebahn and tumbled 12 meters down (don’t worry, it didn’t die and lived happily until 1989). There was even a competition once where an artist submitted a prototype of a LEGO Schwebebahn! Even if it didn’t win and wasn’t mass produced, it was certainly a cool and very realistic design.
Since its official start in March 1901, the “steel-hard dragon” (quotation from Else Lasker-Schüler) has connected the east and west of the city of Wuppertal in West Germany. Since that time, the inhabitants of Wuppertal have been greeting visitors of “the city where the buses fly,” which is attracting hundreds of thousands of out-of-town guests every year. More than 1.5 billion people have already floated through the valley of the Wupper on the suspension railroad, which carries 85,000 passengers every day at a maximum speed of 60 kilometers per hour.
We parked our car at a park and ride lot in Wuppertal Vohwinkel and walked to the station, where we boarded the suspension monorail and rode right to its final destination in Wuppertal Oberbarmen. Lyons Cub was excited to see the little Wupper river underneath. It is not very deep. Mommy used to live in Wuppertal for a couple of years when working in adjacent Solingen, the “city of blades” (because it is famous for its knife manufacture). Imagine taking the suspension monorail for your daily way to and from work; how nice would that be?
The graffiti on the house walls were also very cool, especially the clown with snakes as his hair. We saw beautiful houses from the 1800s and early 1900s as well as modern factories with all their pipes.
It feels almost like riding a standard tram; the monorail just sways a little bit, so that little kids have to be careful when exiting. It’s a great way to prevent traffic jams. By the way, on April 12th, 1999 there was an accident on the suspension railway — a worker had forgotten a tool on the superstructure, and a wagon derailed and crashed down onto a District heating pipeline bridge. Five travelers were killed and 47 hurt.
When we had arrived at the final destination, we took a little walk around, saw a Greek festival, my son cooled off in a fountain, and then, we caught the suspension rail back and got out at the station Alter Markt, where we had seen a Ferris wheels from above — and it magically attracted Leander 🙂 We also walked by a house that had sunflowers and insects painted on it.
This was Leander’s very first time on a high Ferris wheel, above the roofs of the city. He had been on smaller ones already at Family Paradise, an indoor playground, so he was used to the process, but we were both a bit scared to be that high up and glad to feel the ground beneath our feet again. Only our companion had no fear and even rode “hands free,” while we clung tightly to the railing 😉
We also went on a merry-go-round
and bought a shark balloon and a doggy balloon. The adults had to carry everything, while Lyons Cub went bungy jumping, one of his favorite activities.
This concludes our exciting trip to this city. If you ever visit Wuppertal, don’t forget to ride the suspension train above the Wupper river!