H-Bahn construction

Two-track floating station attached to a bridge above a parking lot

My university, TU Dortmund, has a unique transportation system: The “H-Bahn“, a suspended monorail connecting the two campuses, the university train station and two other stations. Since last Thursday service has been suspended (well, there are replacement buses) while they’re adding a new switch at the South Campus station. To give those of you outside Dortmund an idea what the H-Bahn looks like, here’s a photo of the North Campus station with two cabins. Each cabin has 16 seats. How many people can fit in standing depends on how much they’ll squeeze together. :mrgreen:

Two-track floating station attached to a bridge above a parking lot

On Saturday, the new switch was brought into place with two large cranes.

Two cranes holding a H-Bahn track switch in place while it is being connected

On Monday, workers were still busy around the connection points. According to the previously published schedule the work should have been finished that day, but today service was still suspended.

Workers on and around the H-Bahn track, now hanging on the pillars without cranes

Why is the new switch necessary?

The H-Bahn runs on two lines: Line 1 connects Eichlinghofen (a residential area near the South Campus), the South Campus, the university train station at the North Campus and “Technologiepark”, the newest station located in a high-tech business district, with a 10 minute frequency. Line 2, older than Line 1, runs between the South Campus and North Campus stations every five minutes.

The current extension is meant to double the capacity of Line 2. One of the two old tracks at South Campus station ends there, while the other (used by Line 1) continues to Eichlinghofen. Campus North station, at the other end of Line 2, has two tracks, so it could serve two cabins at once. The new switch connects a third track at Campus South station to the main line. With two tracks for Line 2 at each station, two cabins will be able to run on the line. With only one track connecting the stations they’ll have to leave (almost) simultaneously from the same station, though.

Branching H-Bahn tracks photographed from below: two to the left, one to the right

The photo above shows the track layout at the South Campus station: The new switch is somewhat hidden behind bushes on the left side, and on the right side you can see all three tracks: the new one to the left, the old Line 2 one in the middle and the one that’s connected to Eichlinghofen on the right. While I took the photo, I could hear the workers discussing load tests. I hope they get those right! 😉

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