As you know, I am very interested in iconic public transport systems. Thus, I had to visit the Schwebebahn, the suspension cable railroad, when I have been in Dresden in November 2023. The connection has been established in 1901. Even though it looks similar to the Wuppertaler Schwebebahn in Wuppertal and even shares the same inventor, it does run on cable car technology. In this posting, I take you on a ride.
Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad – Network & Tariff
The cable railcoad connects the boroughs of Loschwitz with Oberloschwitz (which means nothing but “Upper Loschwitz”). The easiest way to get to the lower station is to take a bus to the Körnerplatz stop, which is served by the bus lines 61, 63, 84 and 521. From there, you can also use the other ride which is part of the Bergbahnen Dresden (Dresden Mountain Railways) the Dresden Funicular (or Standseilbahn). The valley area features some stores and cafes, while on the top of the Suspension Cable Railroad, there is a cafe overlooking Dresden and the Elbe Valley (in summer time only).
The Schwebebahn is operating all year. However, there are two maintenance slots, in March and in November. The operating times are roughly between 9:00 and 20:00, with trains running every 15 minutes. The Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad is driven by local public transport, but you still need a separate ticket for it, unless you have a weekly or monthly subscription. The Deutschland Ticket does not count. An adult one-way ticket is 4 EUR, a return 6 EUR. If you have a day ticket for Dresden transport, they honor it with reduced fees (2.50 EUR / 3.50 EUR). You can also use the ticket to take one of the mountain railways uphill, walk between the mountain stations (some 30 to 45 minutes) and have a downhill ride with the other transport.
Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad – Rolling Stock
The total distance between the two stations is some 300 meters only. The height difference of 84 meters leads to an average incline of roughly 40%The ride time is some five minutes. As said, the technical concept is very different from the Wuppertal model. In fact, the Dresdner Schwebebahn is a cable car, the engine and control room is located in the tower of the mountain stop. A weird fact is that the distance between the trains and the ground is that low at a street crossing that trucks may it one of the trains. Despite some technical upgrades and transforming the transport system from combustion engine to electric, the general structure of it is unchanged since its opening in 1901.
The two carts follow a typical diagonal structure with different sections. Each of them features benches. The lowest section is wider and might in general transport wheelchairs, cycles and strollers. Due to the construction of the rail, the motor just needs comparably little energy. 80kW are sufficient to transport up to 40 passengers.
Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad – The Ride
If you ride the Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad, you don’t do it for stunning views out of the window. It is the unique technology, which is making the experience. In general, it is really amazing how efficient suspension railroad systems can be – and that they also can master steep hills, not only comparably flat areas like the Wuppertal sister version of this ride. The ride is comparably smooth and comfortable, especially compared to typical cable cars.
And yeah, especially if you in the upper part of the tracks and look down to Dresden, you will have a lovely view – which is getting even much better when you explore some of the spots around the mountain station of the public transport rail. While the local neighbor, the Dresden Funicular, is in fact very frequently used by locals as well, the Schwebebahn is majorly touristic attraction nowadays.
Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad – Visiting the Engine Room
For an additional 2.50 EUR (you just ring a door bell on the mountain), you can visit the engine room. I first thought that I can just have a look inside, but you get a really detailed tour and can see the engines in operation as well. The staff there is outstandingly friendly – I absolutely recommend to add this to your mountain railway experience. You even receive a small gift in exchange for your admission.
Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad – Service & Exhibition
The tower of the mountain stop of the Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad features a small, but very interesting and educating exhibition about the Dresden Mountain Railways. It is also worth a visit as it ends on a top level observation deck, which you can visit for free. You have an amazing view from there and should definitely visit it. If you cannot walk stairs, there is also an elevator to the viewing platform – however, it was closed during my visit.
Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad – My View
The technology, the engine room, the view from the top – you don’t need to be a transportation geek to love this experience. The Dresden Suspension Cable Railroad is truly iconic – and the experience you can do around it is definitely worth investing the commute from city center to these hills of the city. I absolutely recommend it.
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