Press Release


Wuppertal Suspension Railway – Flying High With ZF

  • ZF develops transmissions for the Wuppertal Suspension Railway, a listed heritage site.
  • The transmission was developed specifically for its application in the suspension monorail.
  • Only ZF transmission which is not hidden in the vehicle but is visible from the platform.

After 40 years, the Wuppertal Suspension Railway is getting new vehicles which are equipped with ZF technology. As of mid-2016, the first of the 31 new trains produced by manufacturer Vossloh Kiepe were delivered to the Wuppertal public utilities. The transmissions have been developed especially for the Suspension Railway. They meet the highest requirements regarding light-weight design, energy efficiency and low noise emissions.

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Wuppertal Suspension Railway – Flying High With ZF

System integration is the right keyword. Two transmission units by ZF Friedrichshafen AG and one motor, developed by TSA (Traktionssysteme Austria), the development partner for this project, form a large-scale integration drive system. Each vehicle is equipped with four such drive units.

The trains' drive units are visible from the platform.

The structure of the Suspension Railway's bogies is technically interesting. The fully suspended drive units are mounted to the bogie with the zero-bearing motor being located between the two transmissions. They form a classical, statically solid three-point linkage of the entire driveline. The bevel gear pinion shaft bearing of the transmissions that are arranged on both sides of the motor additionally support the motor's suspension.

Ideal gear geometry, which reduces noise emission and increases efficiency, was considered very important in this project, thus improving both the passengers' comfort and the residents' quality of life.

An integrated oil pump ensures that lubrication and heat dissipation work at any operating point.

In addition to function, the operator makes high demands on environmental friendliness and design. For that reason, the engineers paid a lot of attention to the transmission's outer appearance when developing it. Accordingly, the aluminum lightweight transmission housing has a horizontal ribbing that picks up the vehicle's patterns. The tried and tested labyrinth concept of ZF reliably prevents transmission oil from leaking, which is all the more important as a major part of the vehicle's route runs directly above the river Wupper.


Georg Ehling

Head of Marketing and Business Development

+49 7541 77-2199