The Rhaetian Railway (RhB) is a Swiss transport company that operates the railway lines of the Swiss Canton of Graubünden. The unique character of the line, the wonderful landscapes and creative railway-centred offers serving a number of major tourist destinations (Davos, St. Moritz, Tirano) explains why over 80% of RhB passenger traffic is generated by the tourism sector.
The Glacier and Bernina Express are without doubt the prestige trains of the Rhaetian Railway (RhB). Thanks to their comfortable observation cars, passengers are able to enjoy uninterrupted views of the unique Alpine landscape, as the train rolls along the century-old masterpiece of pioneering engineering work that constitutes the railway. Around half a million delighted visitors come from all over the world every year to take a trip on one of these famous express trains.
Recognised by the UNESCO World Heritage accolade as a masterpiece of railway engineering
On July 7th 2008, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO took the decision to include in its list of World Heritage Sites the Albula and Bernina lines of the Rhaetian Railway. This makes the “Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina landscapes” only the third railway worldwide (along with the Semmering and Darjeeling railways, in Austria and India respectively) to be awarded this prized distinction.
The sections of line between Thusis and St. Moritz (Albula) and St. Moritz and Tirano (Bernina) are outstanding, technically innovative examples of how to provide access to the high Alpine regions, while also being two of the most spectacular narrow-gauge railways in the world.
The extraordinary significance of the Albula and Bernina lines likewise includes their respective geographical settings, in terms of the unique and direct symbiosis between landscape and railway, and also of the rich cultural zone through which each lines runs. The railway infrastructure has come to form a truly special bond with its surrounding topography.
The Bernina Express covers the entire 122 kilometre-long UNESCO World Heritage route. The train takes you from Chur, through the wild valley of Albulatal and into the region of Upper Engadin, from where it climbs to the railway’s highest point at Ospizio Bernina, before descending to Poschiavo-Tirano, in an itinerary that takes about four hours.
The highlights of the journey include winding switchback tunnels, the towering viaducts of the valley of Albulatal and Bernina Pass’s glaciers in the Alps.
On its run from St. Moritz to Thusis (about 60 km), the Glacier Express passes through the valley of Albulatal – a section of the UNESCO World Heritage route. The trains impress in terms of their fresh and daring design, while also setting standards when it comes to the passenger comfort and on-board facilities that travellers enjoy on their seven-and-a-half-hour journey between the two major spa-resort towns that mark the line’s terminals Davos/St. Moritz and Zermatt.
The Glacier Express trains consist of fully air-conditioned observation cars, and meals are freshly prepared in the train’s own on-board galley for serving in the comfort of the passengers’ own seats. Passengers can listen in to information – in six languages – on the highlights of their journey.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE PASS: This pass guarantees two days’ unlimited travel, within any four-day period, on the World Heritage Albula and Bernina lines. It also includes a free guidebook containing full details of the World Heritage listing.
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