Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Red Train on the Rhaetian Railway (Albula/Bernina Railway), Switzerland & Italy.
Set high in the mountains, the Albula/Bernina railway - a Unesco World Heritage Site - is not just an important link between Switzerland and Italy. The famous Rhaetian Railway red train also takes you on a historic journey to the natural beauties of the eastern canton of Graubünden. Passengers leaving Tirano get the message almost immediately: the Bernina Express is a train with a difference. The moment it pulls out of the station of this little Italian town, the train mingles with the traffic and crosses the Piazza del Santuario della Madonna, competing with pedestrians, bicycles and women with shopping bags. From Tirano, 429 metres above sea level, the red train climbs the Val Poschiavo valley, skirts lakes and glaciers, crosses two mountain massifs (the Bernina and the Albula), and calls at many tourist resorts before reaching the Swiss town of Thusis. The train then travels on to Chur, the capital of Graubünden and the oldest town in Switzerland. With its 196 bridges and viaducts, 55 tunnels and 128 km of track, the railway is a miracle of technology – an achievement that, even a hundred years after it was built, continues to fascinate.
"Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes, brings together two historic railway lines that cross the Swiss Alps through two passes. Opened in 1904, the Albula line in the north western part of the property is 67 km long. It features an impressive set of structures including 42 tunnels and covered galleries and 144 viaducts and bridges. The 61 km Bernina pass line features 13 tunnels and galleries and 52 viaducts and bridges. The property is exemplary of the use of the railway to overcome the isolation of settlements in the Central Alps early in the 20th century, with a major and lasting socio-economic impact on life in the mountains. It constitutes an outstanding technical, architectural and environmental ensemble and embodies architectural and civil engineering achievements, in harmony with the landscapes through which they pass." - UNESCO