Saturday, 9 April 2016

Rhaetian Railway

It does not happen often that I devote a whole post to the travel itself. But today I would like to take you on a journey that is so unique that it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. We will start in the Swiss city of Chur, the capital of canton Graubünden.

We need to be on the main station early morning to discover together the Bernina Express or otherwise the Rhaetian Railway. It runs through the beautiful landscapes of Albula and Bernina. To fully allow passengers to have the best experience, the Bernina Express is equipped with huge panoramic windows.

Hold on your tickets and let's jump in. Each passenger is provided with a travel guide in four languages (German, English, French and Italian). Each table shows the itinerary we will follow.

The Bernina Express  runs along 122 kilometers of tracks. The landscapes changes regularly. At first, it is quite flat, with some high mountains in the back (does not this one look like Mount Fuji?).

In the valleys you can see some calm villages. Do you see that oval spot of blue? It looks like an outdoor swimming pool!

And here comes a little church.

The Bernina Express is passing through 55 tunnels and over 196 bridges and viaducts. They are amoung the most amazing views on the way.

When you look back, you can even spot the last wagons of our train still taking the viaduct.

As we climb up, the landscape changes. Even though it is early spring in the valleys, there is plenty of snow up here.

Actually, you can see the way up by yourself.

Finally, we arrive on the Bernina Pass. It is a drainage divide, which means that the waters to the north of the pass flow via the Danube into the Black Sea, while the waters to the south of the pass end up in the river Po and the Adriatic.

In early twentieth century civil works began to capture some of those waters into two lakes, called White Lake (Lago Bianco) and Black Lake (Lej Nair). The names are due to the different shades of water. But today both are white in fact.

But in summer time they look much different.

Just behind the Bernina Pass, the train stops for 20 minutes so that the passengers can go out and take pictures. The pass is on 2300 meters, the station of Alp Grüm is on 2091 meters.

To be honest, whichever way you would look, the view is amazing. Both on the left ...

... and the right.

The train continues here on a round-shaped track.

Down in the valley you can already see the Lago di Poschiavo on the other side of the mountains as well as the Italian Alps.

Time to get back on the train. These icy structures look almost like a frozen waterfall.

Finally, we get closer to the Lago di Poschiavo. I must say that I like this combination of sky, snow, lake and mountains a lot.

When the train reaches the valley it runs on the shores of the Lake.

But what I liked even more was that when it crosses the little towns, the rails are in the middle of the little streets. I felt like in a tram. A UNESCO World Heritage tram.

These strange structures made of rocks were used in the past to keep food fresh and cool during warm summer months.

The last highlight of the track is the Brusi circular viaduct. It is truly circular and allows the railway to loose height in a very short space.

What I really liked is that when I perched to the front I saw our locomotive ...

... and when I perched back I saw our tail!

Now we only need to pass below the viaduct.

And finally, after over four hours, we arrive to the nice little town of Tirano. Welcome to Italy my friends!


  1. Piękna ta trasa, te góry, wiadukty, wszystko bardzo przypadło mi do gustu :)
    Chętnie sama bym się wybrała w taką właśnie podróż wśród gór, i na dodatek koleją :)

  2. przepiękna trasa, sama chciałabym się kiedyś nią wybrać, bo uwielbiam podróże koleją a jechanie pociągiem pośród takich widoków jest tym bardziej niesamowite.
    również uwielbiam połączenia ośniezonych gór, jezior i pięknego błękitnego nieba :)

  3. I loved the post with all the pictures and the descriptions..and im soo jealous!! :D