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Schwebebahn in Wuppertal

2573 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.

2572 Schwebebahn in Wuppertal

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.

2571 Schwebebahn in Wuppertal

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

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