Wuppertal Schweberbahn

On a trip to visit friends in Germany I was taken to see the famous overhead railway in Wuppertal known as the Schweberbahn. It is mainly built over the river with trains whistling a fair speed tilting into the curves. I went in 1997 and was surprised to find out that it had been running for around 100 years.

I thought it would make a fine model and when I received copies of the main plans used in the construction and then a letter from M.A.N. who had built most of the trains I knew I would have to build a model.

It was decided to use 7mm to the foot (0 gauge) to fit with the club coarse scale layout used at exhibitions.

The vertical columns were 1in. by 1in. box steel from the banister of a redundant outside staircase. Brass Swish curtain rails provided the back bone with 0 gauge brass rail as the running rails. Insulated split pins carried a brass wire to supply current to the pickup arm on the top of the coaches.

Each of the motor bogies carried a small, double-ended can motor with worm gears driving a pair of wheels with a flange on each side. The coaches were built with thin ply top and bottom and polycarbonate off cuts formed the sides.

The track gives a run of 48ft. in the form of an oval with 2 elevated stations, the trains being run by a timer.

The total cost of construction was under £35 and the layout has been in use for 16 years!

I have sent a set of photos to the railway company in Wuppertal and I am told that they are displayed in the entrance to their offices as the only known operating model of their railway. A highpoint came at a recent club exhibition when a lady came to me and said that she lived within 100 metres of that railway and it was wonderful to see a model of it so far from home.

Don Mathers