The The Rhaetian Railway (RhB) is a private company. It celebrated its 100th birthday of its first line in 1989. Emerging from the 5.8 km/3.6 mi Albula tunnel, the highest (1,903 m/6,242 ft) principal tunnel through the Alps and the most expensive and difficult engineering work of the RhB, the Glacier Express train arrives in the upper Engadine valley with an average altitude of 1,700 m/ 5,500 ft, clear skies and dry, light breezes. St. Moritz (1,800 m/5,939 ft) is the eastern terminus of the Glacier Express and the northern terminus of the Bernina Express. The Albula and Bernina lines between Thusis and Tirano are technically innovative examples showing how the alpine landscape was opened up and are among the most spectacular narrow gauge railways in the world.
Bernina ExpressShortly after departing St. Moritz and high above the timberline, Bernina Express trains reach the summit at Bernina Hospiz (2,256 m/7,403 ft), where winter lasts seven months. They have climbed 1,821 m/5,973 ft by simple adhesion – even more than any Swiss rack railroad – and reached the highest station in Switzerland served by adhesion railway. Alp Grüm station (2,090 m/6,858 ft) is a popular jumping-off place for alpine hiking and an amazing place for lunch. Lake Poschiavo is 1,290 m/4,231 ft below and only 11 km/6.8 mi away. To reach Poschiavo, trains must descend 1,230 m/4,034 ft in a horizontal distance of only 7.6 km/ 4.7 mi. Engineers solved this problem by designing a series of cautious, cascading cuts, circular tunnels, sharp zigzags and astonishing loops.
Albula/Bernina (UNESCO world heritage site)The Rhaetian Railway of Albula/Bernina constitutes an outstanding technical, architectural and environmental ensemble and was therefore accredited as a UNESCO heritage site in July 2008. The Albula railway was completed in 1903, the Bernina railway in 1910. The layout of the line and the engineering structures built of locally quarried stone mark the zenith of the classic era of railway building.
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