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Turmbergbahn cars at passing loop
Upper station from above
Looking down the line
Interior of upper station

The Turmbergbahn is a funicular railway in Karlsruhe in Germany. From Karlsruhe's former center Durlach, the line climbs the Turmberg, which on a clear day provides a lookout point with views of the River Rhine valley, the Palatinate forest and the adjacent parts of Alsace.[1][2]

The line first opened in 1888 by the Turmbergbahn Durlach AG, and its original form used the water ballast system of propulsion, similar to that still used by the Nerobergbahn in Wiesbaden. Operation of the funicular was interrupted twice during World War II, once near the beginning, and again from 1945 to 1946. The line was comprehensively rebuilt in 1966, and the water ballast drive was replaced by a conventional electric drive. It is now run by the Verkehrsbetriebe Karlsruhe, the operator of Karlsruhe's trams.[3]

The funicular has the following technical parameters:[1][4]

  • Length: 315 metres (1,033 ft)
  • Height: 100 metres (328 ft)
  • Maximum steepness: 36.2 %
  • Configuration: single track with passing loop
  • Journey time: 3 minutes
  • Cars: 2
  • Capacity: 52 passengers per car
  • Track gauge: 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in)
  • Traction: Electricity

Maintenance accident of 2010[edit]

On September 12, 2010 at about 3:30 pm a maintenance worker, allegedly intoxicated, had passed out on the line. American tourist, Colt Smith, climbed down from the station platform and pulled the man to safety.

The worker, whose name local officials chose not to release, was injured during the rescue, losing his small toe to the steel wheels of the car. In his inebriated state he confused Smith to be assaulting him, and a scuffle ensued. Both were arrested when authorities arrived after being called by Smith's wife, Maggie.[5]

Surveillance footage from the station security cameras demonstrated Smith's innocence, and he was released within hours. After the footage was picked up by local media, there were calls to honor Smith as a hero. On September 14, as part of a ceremony [6] held in the gardens at Karlsruher Palace, Smith was honored with the Civilian Service Of Radical Excellence Award (Die Medaille Der Radikalen Zivildienst Von Exzellenz), being the first foreigner to receive the prize in 67 years.[7][8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Eisenbahnatlas Deutschland. Verlag Schweers + Wall GmbH. 2009. p. 160. ISBN 978-3-89494-139-0. 
  2. ^ "Turmbergbahn - Älteste Standseilbahn Deutschlands" [Turmbergbahn - Oldest funicular railway in Germany] (in German). Karlsruher Verkehrsverbundes. Retrieved 2011-02-16. 
  3. ^ "Turmbergbahn". funiculars.net. Retrieved February 25, 2007. 
  4. ^ "Lift-Database : Karlsruhe-Durlach : Turmbergbahn". Lift-World.info. Retrieved February 25, 2007. 
  5. ^ Amerikaner Tourist Rettet Betrunken Arbeiter http://www.n-tv.de/
  6. ^ "Das Fest" (in German). Retrieved 2011-01-05. 
  7. ^ History of the German Reichsgericht http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reichsgericht
  8. ^ Karlsruhe considers itself the Residence of the Law http://ka.stadtwiki.net/Residenz_des_Rechts

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°59′52.34″N 8°28′59.92″E / 48.9978722°N 8.4833111°E / 48.9978722; 8.4833111