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Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes
Site number:
Type of site: Cultural
Date: 1904
Date of Inscription: 2008
Location: Europe, Italy, Switzerland, south-easternmost canton of Graubünden
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Description: The Albula / Bernina Landscape holds two historic railway lines that cross the Swiss Alps through two passes; the Rhaetian Railway. The Albula line, which was launched in 1904, stretches 67 km in the property’s north western section. It presents a striking set of structures, among them 42 tunnels and covered galleries as well as 144 viaducts and bridges. The Bernina pass line, that runs 61 km, consists of 13 tunnels and galleries and 52 viaducts and bridges. The property is commendable for overcoming settlement isolation in the Central Alps early in the 20th century; the railway had a fundamental and lasting socio-economic influence on life in the mountains. The site represents an exceptional technical, architectural and environmental ensemble and exemplifies achievements of architectural and civil engineering, that stands in harmony with its natural surroundings. --WHMNet paraphrase from the description at WHC Site, where additional information is available.
  The RhB (Rhaetian Railway / Rhätische Bahn (German) / Ferrovia Retica (Italian) / Viafier Retica (Romansh)) has the largest network of all the private railways in Switzerland. The company operates most of the railways in the south-easternmost canton of Graubünden (Italian: Grigioni, Romansh: Grischun, French/English: Grisons) since the Federal Railways SBB-CFF-FFS extend only a few kilometres over the cantonal border to the capital at Chur. RhB serves the major tourist centre of St Moritz and Davos, and one of the lines, the Berninabahn, crosses the Bernina Pass to the Italian border and on to Tirano, where there is a link to the Italian railways. In 2008 the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The RhB network was developed in various stages at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, with the result that several different electrification systems are in use, and one 12km section between Castione and Cama was completely separate from all other railways following a landslide in the mid-20th century, before later closure. All the RhB is of 1,000 mm (3 ft 3⅜ in) gauge, and is electrified: 61km, the Bernina Bahn (Pontresina - Tirano) is electrified at 1000V. 321km is electrified at 11kV 16.7Hz (including Chur-Arosa and the new Vereina tunnel route). --Wikipedia. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.
Reference: 1. UNESCO World Heritage Center, Site Page.
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