Added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 2008, the 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.

AD-Rhaetian-Railway-Albula-Bernina-Glacier-Express-Bernina-Express-UNESCO-01Photograph by lkiwaner on Wikimedia CommonsAs per the World Heritage description page:

“The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes constitutes an outstanding technical, architectural and environmental ensemble and embodies architectural and civil engineering achievements, in harmony with the landscapes through which they pass.”

Below you will find additional information on this breathtaking railway route along with more photos and reasons to add this to your bucket list.

rhaetian railway albula bernina glacier express bernina express unesco (2)

Below you will find additional information on this breathtaking railway route along with more photos and reasons to add this to your bucket list.

 

rhaetian railway albula bernina glacier express bernina express unesco (13)

Photograph via iammanic on Reddit

 

Rhaetian Railways Albula Bernina Landscapes unesco world heritage (3)

© Rhätische Bahn/Max Galli

 

Rhaetian Railways Albula Bernina Landscapes unesco world heritage (4)

© Rhätische Bahn/Christoph Benz

 

rhaetian railway albula bernina glacier express bernina express unesco (11)

Photograph by PETER THOENY on Flickr

Photograph by PETER THOENY on Flickr

The Albula Railway

The Albula Railway is a single track metre gauge railway line, in the Canton of Graubünden, Switzerland. It links Thusis on the Hinterrhein (697 m (2,287 ft) above sea level) with the spa resort of St. Moritz in Engadine (1,774 m (5,820 ft) above sea level). Construction of the Albula Railway was begun in September 1898, the opening took place on 1 July 1903, and the extension to St. Moritz commenced operations on 10 July 1904. With its 55 bridges and 39 tunnels, the 61.67 km (38.32 mi) long line is one of the most spectacular narrow gauge railways in the world. [Source]

Route Highlights

– The 5,866m (3.6 miles) long Albula Tunnel, which passes under the watershed between the Rhine and the Danube a few kilometres west of the Albula Pass. With its maximum elevation of 1,820 m (5,970 ft) above sea level, the tunnel is, after the Furka Tunnel, the second highest alpine tunnel in Switzerland

– Between Tiefencastel und Filisur, the train crosses the 35 m (115 ft) m high and 137 m (449 ft) long Schmittentobel Viaduct. Shortly before Filisur, it reaches one of the trademarks of the Albula Railway – and often also the Rhaetian Railway in general – the 65 m (213 ft) high 136 metres (446 ft) long Landwasser Viaduct (seen in the first two images of the post), which in a curve of only 100 m (330 ft) radius leads directly into a tunnel through the cliff face at the opposite end.

– At Filisur station is the junction between the Albula Railway and the branch line from Davos Platz. Between Filisur and Bergün, the train ascends 292 m (958 ft), and runs through the first spiral tunnel. The next section, between Bergün and Preda, is the most demanding example of rail technology on the Albula Railway: in order to overcome the height difference of 417 m (1,368 ft) between Bergün and Preda – in only 6.5 km (4.0 mi) as the crow flies – without requiring excessive slopes or radii, the route is extended by 12 km (7.5 mi) by various engineering structures (including three spiral tunnels, two curved tunnels and four valley crossing viaducts). [Source]

 

rhaetian railway albula bernina glacier express bernina express unesco (8)

 

Rhaetian Railways Albula Bernina Landscapes unesco world heritage (1)

© Rhätische Bahn/Giorgio Murbach

 

rhaetian railway albula bernina glacier express bernina express unesco (9)

Photograph by Terra3 on Wikimedia Commons

Rhaetian Railways Albula Bernina Landscapes unesco world heritage (2)

Rhaetian Railways Albula Bernina Landscapes unesco world heritage (6)

© Rhätische Bahn/Andrea Badrutt

 

rhaetian railway albula bernina glacier express bernina express unesco (10)

Photograph by HENRIK JOHANSSON on Flick
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