Denis Shiryaev, YouTube

Have You Seen This? Restored footage of 1902 German 'flying train' makes you a time-traveler

By Katie Workman, | Posted - Sep. 4, 2020 at 5:13 p.m.

THE UNCANNY VALLEY — None of us are using our passports this year. Or at least, do so at your own risk.

By why would you need to leave the country when you can time travel without leaving your living room?

This footage of the Wuppertal Suspended Railway in Germany resides in New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and was published on its YouTube page in early August. YouTuber Denis Shiryaev took the video as a challenge and proceeded to stabilize the film, boost the FPS to 4k, upgrade the frame rate to 60 per second while correcting playback speed issues, and colorize the footage using ambiance and historical data. The video was reposted on Twitter, where it promptly went viral and accrued several million views.

The resulting film is haunting, beautiful, and will make you feel like a time-traveler. It seems too good to have originated in 1902, and gives an uncanny valley effect of modern video game graphics. It's mesmerizing, and I've rewatched it more times than I can count.

So jump aboard Germany's "flying train," enjoy the city and countryside in full color, and watch long-dead people walk about their daily lives below.

Fun fact: in 1950, a circus elephant named Tuffi rode the train pictured in this video as part of a media stunt. She didn't like the train and took a 12-meter plunge into the river, which she survived with only a scrape.

The train is still in operation today, where it ferries millions of passengers per year.

Have You Seen This?

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