Nordbahntrasse: Twenty kilometres of bicycle culture

After eight years, it is finished: The Nordbahntrasse in Wuppertal – a citizens' project on an impressive scale. 20 kilometres of cycling, walking and skating tracks have been created along two old railway lines. A big step for the people and for mobility in a city that was only able to accommodate very little bicycle traffic up until now because of its layout.

Centrally located, well connected and easily integrated: The Wuppertal Nordbahntrasse is an important addition to the municipal mobility concept. More than 20 kilometres of disused railway line has been transformed into a cycle route by the Wuppertal Movement – through the commitment of volunteers, energetic support from the citizens of Wuppertal and a great understanding of sustainable urban development. The line makes the bicycle an inner city competitor to the car – above all for the more than 100,000 people living in the immediate catchment area of one kilometre on either side of the line. A large contribution, not only for climate protection.

Engine for progress:

  • large-scale citizens' project
  • a climate-friendly addition to the mobility options in Wuppertal
  • social and ecological flagship project
  • city revitalisation and dynamics along the line

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Photo: Wuppertalbewegung

The Wichernkapelle on the Nordbahntrasse, shown here on the day of its opening, was made possible by the great commitment of the citizens, as was also the case for the rest of the line.

Social centre and tranquil oasis

In addition to geographic points, the new route also connects the people themselves: With the Nordbahntrasse, new opportunities for people to meet have been created in the city – city festivals, cultural events or sporting events, such as skating nights for example. Free repair cafés or bicycle and pedelec rental with free charging stations have already been set up. Those searching for peace and quiet will find the right place for them in a line chapel, which is currently being built as a retreat and a place of contemplation.

Line increases the quality of the location

With the Nordbahntrasse, not only are the citizens of Wuppertal contributing to the ecology, but also to the quality of the location: An innovative LED lighting concept keeps the former train tunnels bat-friendly and creates habitats for animals. Along the line, the Wuppertal Movement has been planting the route and inspiring imitators: The first urban gardening initiatives are springing up.
The Nordbahntrasse is increasing the value of the quarters and at the same time preserving structures that define the cityscape. A flagship project that radiates far beyond Wuppertal – by the citizens for the citizens.

Nordbahnstrasse Wuppertal project video

Video: KlimaExpo.NRW

Photo: Uwe Schinkel

“The outstanding feature of my voluntary work continues to be the fact that civic engagement is retained, true to the motto: BY CITIZENS, FOR CITIZENS. The Nordbahntrasse is firmly rooted in the consciousness of Wuppertal’s residents and their enthusiasm for providing active support is unwavering – despite the project’s long duration. I am proud of that.”

Lutz Eßrich, Deputy Chair of the Wuppertalbewegung e.V. (Wuppertal Movement) and route guide

Partners and sponsors

  • WUPPERTALBEWEGUNG e. V. Wuppertaler Nordbahntrassen GmbH
  • EU-Förderung
  • Landesregierung NRW
  • Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)