Friday, September 28, 2007

Stuttgarter 'Zacke'

Marienplatz: lower terminus of the Stuttgart funicular railway

Amongst its other charms, Stuttgart is the only city in Germany with a funicular railway. This line is metre gauge, and has connected Stuttgart centre and the town of Degerloch, 2,2km away and 205m up the hill, since 1884. It used to be steam operated, and follows the “Alte Weinsteige”, which was the only rail or road connection to the city for anyone living in the eastern suburbs until 1904, when a more direct, easier graded route -and tramline- replaced it. Now it is an isolated metre gauge railway in the standard gauge system and I happen to like it very much. It is slower than my usual route home, but it has a very nice laid-back independent feel, it runs along, or across the street with great views across Stuttgart; and it will always carry your bike (uphill) for free, every 20 minutes if you feel inclined.

I happened to be in the centre last week with a bit of time and a desire to travel above ground, so I went along to the Marienplatz and boosted the ridership figures. At no extra charge to you, I even took a few pictures before I got on to show what a modern narrow gauge system could look like.

1001 Approaches the platform (where I'm standing) over the Bridge.

Cyclists dream: Trolley for bikes to help get up the 17.5% Alte Weinsteige.

Quick shot of the catenary for a certain future project...

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