Bernina Express, Switzerland

FROM The man in the front seat / June 14, 2018

The Bernina Express is a train running from Chur via Davos, in Switzerland through, Poschiavo and into Tirano in Italy. It is an incredibly scenic journey passing through the Engadine Alps and is regarded as one of the most spectacular narrow-gauge railways in the world. This beauty was recognised by UNESCO in 2008 with a large part of the journey being declared a World Heritage Site.

The journey is made up of two separate rail lines, the Albula Line and the Bernina Line which both hath their terminus in St. Moritz.

The Albula Line

Construction began in September 1898 with its opening taking place on the 1stJuly 1903. An extension to St. Moritz commence the following year in 1904 which made the line 61.67km (38.32mi) long and includes 55 bridges and 39 tunnels.

Bernina Line

The Bernina line began in 1908 with the idea to link St. Moritz, in Switzerland, with Tirano, in Italy. The line was opened in segments but become fully operational on the 5thJuly 1910 when the most difficult part was finished, the section between Bernina Suot and Poschiavo. The original cost of the line was 15 million Swiss Francs with the cost sending the constructors, Bernina-Bahngesellschaft, heading towards bankruptcy. The addition of a restaurant car in 1928 as well as tourist packages did little to fix the financial problems and eventually, in 1943, it was bought by Rhaetian Railways, who still own it today.


Today, the Bernina Express reaches a height of 2253m (7392ft) above sea level, includes 196 bridges as well as 55 tunnels. The entire line is electrified and used a 1000mm (3ft 3/8in) gauge. In 2011, the Bernina line, became the first rail line in the world to be photographed and put on Google Street View.

Bernina Express, Switzerland
Bernina Express, Switzerland.
Bernina Express, Switzerland.
Bernina Express, Switzerland.
Bernina Express, Switzerland.
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