"The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes" consists of the Albula and Bernina transalpine railway lines, noted for their technical quality. The lines were built from 1908-1910.
The Albula line leads from Chur to St. Mortiz and has:
- 42 tunnels and covered galleries (16.5 km)
- 144 viaducts and bridges (2.9 km)
The Bernina line leads from St. Moritz to Tirano across the border in Italy.
It was designed to follow an existing mountain road.
Visit August 2012
After having visited Müstair, I drove across another mountain pass: the narrow and winding Albula pass. I wondered if it follows the same stretch as the railway line. I saw some tracks and stations, but none of the remarkable engineering works.
I had to try riding a train on this railway of course. So I parked my car in Thusis, and bought a return ticket to St. Moritz. This covers the designated part of the Albula line. I travelled in the regular regional express train, which leaves every hour for the 1.5 hour stretch. The plus side of this train is that the windows can be opened, so you can get better photos. If you know what to take photos of, that is.
I had printed the Albula part of the nomination dossier, and tried to follow the route on paper while I was on the train. But to be honest – the objects mentioned are difficult to see from the train. At first the only things I noticed were the numerous tunnels. One sits in the dark for almost half of the time! The icon of this line is the Landwasser Viaduct, and fortunately it was announced by the conductor when we were almost there. So I could get a good look at it and take some photos.
The remaining technical highlights en route I found difficult to appreciate from the train. So I was a bit disappointed with the "experience" in general.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
|Klaus Freisinger (Austria):|
This is really a fantastic site not only for WH collectors, but for anyone who enjoys travelling by train and admiring scenic landscapes. After visiting the WH-listed convent at Mï¿½stair, I got on the Bernina line at Pontresina (from Mï¿½stair, take the bus to Zernez and continue by train) and took a southbound train to Tirano, just across the border in Italy. Tirano is quite a pretty town, with a famous pilgrimage church and the unique sight of a train passing right through the streets and squares. The next day, I took the same route back and continued until St. Moritz, where I changed into the Albula Train to Chur (the WH part only stretches to Thusis, but trains continue without the need to change). The lines were inscribed as a masterpiece of engineering, and rightly so. There is an endless line of bridges, tunnels, and viaducts, and the Bernina line is one of the steepest railway lines in the world, and one of the few that crosses the Alps not through a tunnel, but goes over a pass (at Ospizio Bernina, which is the highest point of the line at 2,250 metres). Technical features aside, the lines pass through a sequence of varied and beautiful landscapes (including a glacial lake that was still covered with ice in late May) and through German-, Romansh- and Italian-speaking regions, which makes for interesting linguistic diversity. Technically speaking, the Rhaetian Railway is a network covering all railway lines in the Canton of Grisons (the Swiss Federal Railways only go to Chur), and the Albula and Bernina lines are only 2 of them. It should also be noted that there are hourly trains on both lines, and that the famous Trenino Rosso, or Bernina Express, only goes every second or third hour. In my opinion, it is not really necessary to take one, since it is more expensive, reservations are mandatory, and it seemed to be more crowded than the regular regional trains. The major difference is that the Bernina Express cars are completely glass-covered, so the views are certainly better. However, you can see quite a lot on the standard trains as well. A highly recommended site.
| Date posted: June 2012|
|john booth (New Zealand):|
My journey from Milan to Chur took place on a perfect clear day. Starting out early from Milan Centrale the train skirted the east shore of Lake Como and then entered the terraced, vine clad Val Tellina which led to Tirano on the Swiss border.
Here I left the Italian station and walked next door to the Swiss one. People were queueing here to take the expensive Bernina Express, but I took the empty regional train, better because it is cheaper and the windows open for taking photographs.
After travelling through the streets of Tirano the train crossed the border and started the scenic climb around spirals, over bridges, through tunnels and across viaducts to reach the Bernina Pass. At this altitude the scenery was of mountains, glaciers, lakes, streams and a carpet of wild flowers.
Descending to Thusis the line then levelled out and the Sardona peaks came into view as we approached Chur.
| Date posted: September 2011|
|Tony H. (Finland):|
We started our journey from Davos so we missed the famous Landwasser viaduct near the town of Filisur. But there was still lots to see. Between Davos and Filisur the best views were at the Wiesen station. Between Filisur and Bergün the train passed many tunnels and when you're out of the tunnels you can watch the scenery of the valley.
After Bergün the train comes to Albula viaduct. The rails make many spirals in the tunnels and you will lost coordination and wonder which side of the valley you will come out next. After Preda the train goes in to the long Albula tunnel.
The train comes out of the tunnel in the village of Spinas and passes towns of Bever and Samedan and then comes in to the Bernina valley. At Morteratsch station you can see the Morteratsch glacier - if there is good weather and gladly we had that. After that train starts to climb to the Bernina Pass. At Ospizio Bernina station the railway is on its highest peak. Next to the station is the amazing blue Lago Bianco.
After the train leaves the Lago Bianco behind you can see the magnificent view to Palü glacier. From Alp Grüm station is the perfect view to the glacier and to the Palü lake. The tunnels along the way made photographing hard!
After many turns the train reaches the Poschiavo valley. Views from the slopes to the valley are once again amazing. The train passes town of Poschiavo which is famous for its three towers which you can see from the train. After Poschiavo in the village of Sant'Antonio the train turns to a tram and goes on the the road for a short period of time.
After Le Prese station train goes along the shores of beautiful Lago di Poschiavo and passes Miralago station. After that it reaches the village of Brusio and after the village the train goes to spiral of the Brusio viaduct. But we never reached this viaduct. Some other train had broken down near the Brusio station and all train traffic was cancelled. So we had to leave back to Davos and we never reached Italy and Tirano.
| Date posted: July 2009|
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