The world-famous landmark and the main route for local public transport is the suspension monorail.
The suspension monorail
The suspension monorail (the "Schwebebahn") with its swift train service is not only a landmark and historical monument but has been Wuppertal's indispensable means of transport since its inauguration in 1901. 85,000 passengers use it daily to travel through the city without the problems of junctions or traffic jams. It is scarcely troubled by ice and snow. With a top speed of 60 kph (about 37 mph), the airy ride from terminus to terminus takes almost 35 minutes. On the 13.3-kilometre-long (about 8,3 miles) route there are 20 stations altogether, the art-nouveau station Werther Brücke contrasting with the ultra-modern glass construction at the station Kluse, which was opened in 1999.
The suspension monorail, which winds its way through Wuppertal "like a steely dragon" (in the words of the Wuppertal poet Else Lasker-Schüler), is the prime tourist attraction. More than 1.5 thousand million people have travelled through Wuppertal on it in the course of its 110-year history.
The suspension monorail was made world-famous by a young elephant called Tuffi. On July 21st 1950 Tuffi boarded a train as an advertising gimmick for a visit by the Circus Althoff. Whether or not she felt trapped we do not know, but after only a short ride she had had enough. She burst through the side of the carriage and jumped to freedom, landing in the river Wupper. Tuffi bruised her bottom and achieved worldwide fame.
For visitors and devotees of our unique suspension monorail, Wuppertal Marketing and the "Wuppertaler Stadtwerke" (a public utility company) have produced an audio guide which is available as an MP3 download.
39 sections that can be listened to in any order you like lead you from the monorail stations Vohwinkel to Oberbarmen and back again. This guide provides authentic information on Wuppertal's prime landmark, on points of interest along the route, and on important figures in the city's past and present. It also gives hard facts on technical aspects of the railway, including our very modern system of supersilent rails. Journalists Peter Klaus and Roderich Trapp have designed this one-hour guide as a fascinating companion on your journey. Brief dialogues and appropriate background noises make for a lively commentary.
The emperor's carriage
A ride in the red "Kaiserwagen" (the emperor's carriage) promises a special nostalgic treat. This carriage is so called because the emperor Kaiser Wilhelm II together with his consort Auguste Viktoria once rode through the Wupper valley in it.
On October 24th 1900 their royal highnesses travelled in person from Elberfeld to Vohwinkel on a royal test run.
Carriage number 5, built in 1900, is not to be found in a museum (where it would certainly also be quite a sensation) but makes regular journeys during which you can have a homely cup of coffee or a traditional alcoholic drink, and, especially in the evening, enjoy a stimulating ambience. Stewardesses and stewards in period costume are on board for the round trip, giving information and serving drinks to the passengers. The plush upholstered seats, the gold-coloured curtains at the windows and the old-fashioned lamps provide an authentic nostalgic atmosphere and help to make the ride an unforgettable and royal treat.
You can book a ride in our emperor's carriage in advance quite simply by e-mail or online - see the box "Kaiserwagen" on the right hand side.