Seems really random, right? However, most of us spend so much time on Vienna’s U–Bahn on a daily basis, and know very little about it.
Check out these 14 facts about Vienna’s U–Bahn we bet you didn’t know:
1. The first U–Bahn of Vienna opened its rails in 1976
The seamlessly run system of trains shooting through tunnels from one side of the city to the other seems like it’s been there forever in Vienna, however, it has only been around since 1976. That’s only …(wait we’re counting on hands and toes)… ok, well, let’s just say that’s really not that long ago. Hard to imagine what Vienna was like without the U-Bahn.
2. There was railway system before the U-Bahn called Stadtbahn that opened 1898
So after fact 1, you’re probably wondering how people got around. Well, before the U-Bahn, there was the Stadtbahn.
You may have noticed that the stations of the U4 and U6 lines are way prettier than most of the other stations. That’s because they were part of the Stadtbahn railways lines that were designed by Otto Wagner.
At first, the Stadtbahn was steam–powered, but in 1925, Vienna got all advanced and stuff and electrified the system.
3. The answer to the missing U5 – Vienna’s transport overlords don’t give a shit about chronology
OK, NOW they’re in the middle of building a U5 line, however, it’s been a question on many people’s lips for a long time – why was there no U5 line when there’s a U6?
Well, basically nothing makes sense when it comes to the numbering of Vienna’s U–Bahn lines. Yep, it’s not only the U5 mystery that’s baffling.
Instead of naming the lines chronologically as they were built, Vienna decided to keep things random and spontaneous. Maybe they just asked in the office what everybody’s favourite number was between 1 and 10 – what do we know? – but, anyway, the first U-Bahn to ever shoot through Vienna was the route between today’s U4 stations Heiligenstadt and Friedensbrücke, and the youngest U–Bahn line is the U3. Ummmm, wait, what?! We want to know the inside joke here that’s definitely floating around at Wiener Linien.
4. The maximum speed of an U-Bahn is 80 km/h but they rarely drive that fast
Wait, what!? That sounds pretty fast, right? Then why does it always take seemingly ages to get from A to B, you ask?
Well, the maximum speed may be 80 km/h, but the average speed of an U–Bahn is only 32.5 km/h. Like everything in Vienna, the U-Bahn drivers like to take their time.
5. One meter of U-Bahn rail weighs 50 kg
Just in case you were wondering.
6. The U–Bahn station, Karlsplatz, possesses the most escalators of all stations
That’s quite a flex, right? 26 escalators to be exact! Well, that would explain why we get lost at this station on a regular basis!
7. Every U6 wagon has air conditioning and there’s a good reason why it has this and many others don’t
According to the manager of Wiener Linien, they focused on fitting out the U6 with air conditioning, because it runs mostly above-ground and therefore tends to heat up more than the other lines during summer.
We think it’s just a fancy way of saying: ‘The constant smell of Kebab isn’t that bad if it’s not combined with hot air and the smell of sweat’
We have nothing to add to this fact. It’s true. All U-Bahn lines surface from underground at some point.
9. The wagons of the U6 are narrower than the wagons of every other U-Bahn line
It’s got to do with the tracks on the U6 line and how they differ from the rest of the lines.
10. The Irish band U2 did not name their band after our U-Bahn line
This might come as a shock to you, but it’s true. It’s time that we all start facing the truth – Bono and his band members have never rode the U2 line and were not inspired to name their band after it.
11. There are 4 different kinds of U-Bahn in Vienna and one of them is named after a Mercedes Formula one car
First of all, there are 4 main types of subways (and a bunch of sub–categories) in Vienna. The Type U is called Silberpfeil and is named after a funky-looking Formula One racing car of Mercedes!
12. The U1 station, Donauinsel , contains every vowel at-least once
It’s the only U–Bahn station in all of Vienna that contains every single vowel. Isn’t that incredible?! OK, we know – know really, but it is something you can mention in those awkward silences when you pass the station.
13. The friendly lady who’s voice you hear every time you’re on the U-Bahn is named Angela
We know you’ve been wondering this for a long time and we know that some of you percieve her as some kind of auntie, or long lost lover that calls to us every time we’re traveling through Vienna. OK, we may have binge-watched one too many romantic films during this lockdown – anyway, the voice of the lady who makes all of the announcements on the U-Bahn is named Angela. You can call here Angie.
14. Wiener Linien’s sound design is supposed to remind us of the most famous Viennese waltz beat
Admittedly, it’s not the first thing that comes to mind when we hear Wiener Linien’s little tune, but all the different gongs (yes, there are different gongs – we’re as shocked as you are!) before announcements are supposed to remind you of the most famous waltz, The Blue Danube, by Johann Strauss II.
Wiener Linien hired a sound consultant to find the perfect tunes! If you’ve thought they just randomly decided on the sound of the gong, check out this video and find out how much effort they put into designing them.