Schwebebahn in Wuppertal
Wouldn't it be great if you could take all the cool things you see when you travel, put them together and build your own little Utopia? And I don't mean the Eiffel Tower, the Pyramids and the Acropolis. I'm thinking more of the magical things you find in places you don't expect to. I'd include this electric monorail – the Schwebebahn – from a town called Wuppertal in Germany. Not only because it has an entertaining Germanic name, but because it's emission-free, looks great – and is over 100 years old.
The Schwebebahn makes you realize that pollution-free public transport is not a 21st-century phenomenon. There has been a good idea sitting in an obscure German town for a century. Yes, it does use electricity, so it's not without its downsides – but apparently some of that is solar.
The monorail was chosen instead of a subway because Wuppertal is located on bedrock. Elevating the trams has proved to be a good decision – unlike trains and buses, they're not at the mercy of snowstorms and the area's frequent floods. So they're always running – and are likely to keep doing so for quite some time. RM
Images: copyright Jurgen Karla-Brauner, Helmut Navratil