Die Schwebebahn

Find out about Wuppertal’s ‘flying train’!


Have you ever dreamt of travelling in a ‘flying’ train? In Wuppertal, a city in the west of Germany, you can do just that! A so-called Schwebebahn or ‘sky train’ links the various parts of the city. Instead of running on rails on the ground like a normal train, the electric-powered Schwebebahn trains hang underneath a supporting structure. You have the feeling of flying 15 metres above the city, and the view is stunning!

The Schwebebahn might sound like a futuristic idea, but it has been around for a long time. It was opened on 1 March 1901, so it has been running for well over 100 years. During that time, it has been kept up to date with new trains and equipment. Today, the network includes 20 stations all across the city. So if you ever visit the area, why not travel by ‘flying train’?

Did you know …?

  • The network is 13.3 kilometres long (around 8 miles) and runs for 10 kilometres (6 miles) above the local river called the Wupper, and even follows roads, with traffic running underneath.
  • From the first stop to the last stop, the train takes about 30 minutes.
  • 24.8 million passengers are served every year, which means 82,000 per day.
  • Wuppertal is not the only city with a Schwebebahn: Dresden has also got a short ‘hill’ Schwebebahn, and should you ever fly to Düsseldorf airport, you will have to use the sky train to get to the main railway station.
  • In 1950, a circus took a young elephant called Tuffi for a ride in the Schwebebahn as an advertising gimmick. But the animal got so nervous that it broke through the wall of the carriage and fell into the river. Fortunately, it wasn’t injured and was soon able to go back to performing in the circus.

Words Ahoy! · Wörter Ahoi!

Deutsch English
die Schwebebahn sky train
der Fluss river
die Stadt town / city
der Strom electricity
der Elefant elephant