The Lift Tower of the Ruhrort-Homberg Train Ferry
As building a bridge across the Rhine was rejected for military reasons, the Cöln-Mindener- and the Ruhrort-Crefeld-Kreis Gladbacher Railway Companies decided in 1847 to have a lift and ferry system built for their trains between the towns of Homberg and Ruhrort.
The construction was completed in 1852 and was praised as a great advance in freight traffic as up to 700 railroad cars were soon ferried across the Rhine per month.
Due to problems with floods, in 1856 the sloping approach was exchanged for a hydraulic coach lift like the British built them. Thus it was possible to lift a plattform loaded with up to 35 tons for up to 27 feet. A solid brick tower was built on each side of the harbor basin. The lifts inside took care of the railroad cars which were lowered or lifted to and from the steam ferry which also carried tracks.
In peek seasons, up to 200 coaches per day were ferried through the lift towers until the first bridges were built across the Rhine. The towers hence lost all their importance and went out of business in 1907.
In 1971, the tower on Ruhrort's bank was demolished, whereas the tower on Homberg's bank served as a youth hostel for a number of years.