I generally don’t watch travel shows on TV. However, for a few weeks I’ve been watching the documentary series “Great Continental Railway Journeys” which shows a variety of railway journeys through Europe. On the episode about Germany they showed the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn (Wuppertal Suspension Railway). After seeing the show I knew it was a place I had to visit.
Getting to Wuppertal from Osnabrück required a change of trains in Dortmund. I had around 5 minutes to change trains and with a heavy suitcase this required getting downstairs and then upstairs to a different platform. Rather frustratingly the platform numbering at Dortmund makes no sense. I ended up going up to the same platform that I went down from because the two platforms next to each don’t have sequential numbering.
As I approached Wuppertal I started to see snow on the hills and then on the ground next to the train. While it had been lightly drizzling in Osnabrück in the morning, it had been snowing in Wuppertal. By the time I arrived the snow had stopped and was quickly melting as the snow came out.
Buying a ticket for the Schwebebahn was fun. Despite pressing the English language button on the ticket machine the ticket names remained in German. Rather than buying the wrong ticket I went and found a tobacconist in the station who in a combination of his broken English and my broken German I bought a ticket.
The Schwebebahn is one of the most interesting pieces of technology I have seen. The stations are well above the ground – like Sydney’s former monorail. However, rather than strictly being a tourist attraction it is a very efficient piece of public transport. I rode on a few different carriages and each of them was crammed. However, if one was totally crammed you waited no more than five minutes for the next service. The trains also moved quicker, and swayed, much more than I was expecting.
After travelling from the central train station to the old market and back I went for a walk around the city. After visiting Wuppertal for two hours I continued on my way to Cologne.