The silence of the trams

The silence of the trains

Text Erik Aronsson
Photo Stefan Tesche-Hasenbach, WSW & SKF

Lubricants Railways

The suspension railway­ in the city of Wuppertal, Germany, is a world-famous landmark that since 1901 has transported passengers through the air in hanging cars 40 feet above the ground. The designers of this special rail solution looked to the skies because of the cramped conditions at street level. When the railway was designed at the end of the 19th century, Wuppertal’s city center was densely built up, and the only place that could accommodate public transportation was the space above the Wupper River, the river that gave the city its name.

Today the railway runs along an eight-mile route, six miles of which are directly above the river. During rush hour, 22 three-carriage cars run at 10-minute intervals, often passing close to residential buildings. Thus the operator, WSW (Wuppertaler Stadtwerke) needs the cars to run as quietly as possible. To achieve this, the company is using an innovative solution from SKF – the EasyRail Airless­ wheel flange lubrication system, which reduces friction between the wheel flange and the rail edge, thereby cutting noise emissions considerably.

Sales contact

evolution@skf.com

The system is designed so that the lubricant is supplied from a container pump to the electromagnetic dosing pump via a loop.

The system is designed so that the lubricant is supplied from a container pump to the electromagnetic dosing pump via a loop. The electromagnetic pump applies a predefined quantity of lubricant on the wheel flange without using compressed air. This pump-nozzle unit is equipped with a heating system that provides reliable delivery of lubricant, even when surrounding temperatures are extremely low.

Thomas Kaulfuss, technical operations manager at WSW, describes the cooperation with SKF as excellent. “It was a great team effort,” says Kaulfuss. “We will achieve our objective of keeping noise levels to a minimum.”

Related content