There is a suspended monorail in Germany that was build in 1897 and still moves 25 million passengers annually.
Designed by Eugen Langen to sell to the city of Berlin, the installation with elevated stations was built in Barmen, Elberfeld and Vohwinkel between 1897 and 1903; the first track opened in 1901. The Schwebebahn is still in use today as a normal means of local public transport, moving 25 million passengers annually (2008).
The suspension railway runs along a route of 13.3 kilometres (8.3 mi), at a height of about 12 metres (39 ft) above the river Wupper between Oberbarmen and Sonnborner Straße (10 kilometres or 6.2 miles) and about 8 metres (26 ft) above the valley road between Sonnborner Straße and Vohwinkel (3.3 kilometres or 2.1 miles). At one point the railway crosses the A46 motorway. The entire trip takes about 30 minutes. The Wuppertal Suspension Railway operates within the VRR transport association and accepts tickets issued by the VRR companies.
The Wuppertal Suspension Railway nowadays carries up to 82,000 passengers a day through the city. Since 1997, the supporting frame has been largely modernised, and many stations have been reconstructed and brought technically up to date. Kluse station, at the theatre in Elberfeld, had been destroyed during the Second World War. This too was reconstructed during the modernisation. Work was planned to be completed in 2001; however a serious accident took place in 1999 which left five people dead and 47 injured. This, along with delivery problems, delayed completion. In recent years (2004), the cost of the reconstruction work has increased from €380 million to €480 million.
On 15 December 2009 the Schwebebahn suspended its operations for safety concerns; several of the older support structures needed to be renewed, a process that was completed on 19 April 2010.
On 10 November 2011 Wuppertaler Stadtwerke (Wuppertal City Works) signed a contract with Vossloh Kiepe to supply 31 new articulated cars to replace those built in the 1970s. The new cars will be built in Valencia, Spain. When these cars are introduced the line’s power supply voltage will be raised from 600 to 750 V.
In 2012, the Wuppertal Suspension Railway was closed for significant periods to upgrade the line. The closing times were July 7 to August 21, 6 – 22 October and weekends in September (15/16) and November (10/11).