Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes

N46 29 54 E9 50 47
Date of Inscription: 2008
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Property : 152.42 ha
Buffer zone: 109,385.9 ha
Ref: 1276
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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.

The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes represents an exemplary railway development for the disenclavement of the Central Alps at the beginning of the 20th century. The railway’s socio-economic consequences were substantial and lasting for mountain life, the interchange of human and cultural values, and changes in the relationship between man and nature in the West. The Rhaetian Railway offers a wide diversity of technical solutions for the establishment of the railway in often severe mountain conditions. It is a well designed construction that has been realised with a high degree of quality and it has remarkable stylistic and architectural homogeneity. The railway infrastructure moreover blends in particularly harmoniously with the Alpine landscapes through which it passes.

Criterion (ii): The Rhaetian Railway of Albula/Bernina constitutes an outstanding technical, architectural and environmental ensemble. The two lines, today unified in a single transalpine line, embody a very comprehensive and diversified set of innovative solutions that bear witness to substantial interchanges of human and cultural values in the development of mountain railway technologies, in terms of its architectural and civil engineering achievements, and its aesthetic harmony with the landscapes through which they pass.

Criterion (iv): The Rhaetian Railway of Albula/Bernina is a very significant illustration of the development of mountain railways at high altitudes in the first decade of the 20th century. It represents a consummate example of great quality, which was instrumental in the long-term development of human activities in the mountains. It offers diversified landscapes in conjunction with the railway that are significant of this period of the flourishing of a relationship between man and nature.

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2 replies »

  1. The mountains are glorious – either covered in snow in winter or in lush meadows in spring and summer – and the train’s passage along the Landwasser viaduct is breathtaking.


  2. Though most people take the train to enjoy the dramatic changes in the mountain landscapes, there is reason to stop off at almost every station.


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