Wuppertal Floating Tram (Wuppertal Schwebebahn) is a suspension monorail in the city of Wuppertal, in Germany. Wuppertal Schwebebahn is regarded as one of the world’s oldest monorail still in operation. It is the only suspended monorail in the world. Construction of the suspension began in 1898 and was first opened in 1901 to the public.
Wuppertal was extremely populous town at the end of the 19th century because of the industrialization. There were more than 400,000 people in the town at that time and the roads were insufficient to meet the transportation need of the growing population. Trams were needed but there was no place for laying tracks for tram without creating serious blockages. Underground subway construction was also impossible as the are was very rocky and contained a lot of groundwater. To solve the problems the German engineers went for the aerial route.
Accordingly, suspension lines were constructed. Wuppertal Schwebebahn travels along a route of 13.3 kilometers where most of the track runs above the Wupper river at a height of 12 meters. There is also a 3 kilometer overland track stretching from Wohlwinkel and Sonnborner Strasse. The suspension line quickly became popular and turned into the most prominent landmark of the city of Wuppertal. After more than a century, it is still the easiest and fastest way to get around in the city.
Nowadays, the Wuppertal Floating Tram carries up to 82,000 passengers every day through the city. It has become a tourist attraction too. Tourists who visit Wuppertal don’t want to miss a ride on the suspension train.