Ferrovia retica

The Rhaetian Railway in the Bernina landscapes

The Rhaetian Railway in the Bernina landscapes (between Italy and Switzerland) and the Albula (in the Swiss canton of Grisons) bring together two historical railway lines crossing the Swiss Alps. Inaugurated in 1904, the Albula line, in the north-western part, is 67 kilometres long and connects Thusis to St Moritz. The Bernina crossing line, on the other hand, is 61 kilometres long and connects St Moritz to Tirano (Sondrio - Italy). The railway was included among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2008 "as a technically advanced example of high mountain landscape management and as the most spectacular narrow-gauge railways in the world".

Traveling along this impressive railway line allows you to admire the extraordinary alpine landscapes at different altitudes. In the first stretch of the Rhaetian railway, the starting point is  the Tirano station (Sondrio),  a nice village at 429 m a.s.l., then you continue  up to 2.253 meters  a.s.l. to the Bernina pass, the Alpine pass that connects the Poschiavo valley to the Engadine, where you reach St. Moritz at 1800 m a.s.l. From the windows you can admire a wide range of alpine landscapes: from valleys to forests, from small villages to alpine lakes to the majestic glaciers of the peaks.

But it is not just the natural beauties that enchant those who join this itinerary. To build the railway (the highest in Europe, the only one to climb mountains without using racks) architects and designers had to use the innovative technical solutions for the time to overcome slopes that, in some points, can reach up to 7%. You can admire very high viaducts, bridges and other spectacular infrastructures built in concrete or, where possible, using local stone. "It is a well-designed construction, made with a high degree of quality and with a remarkable stylistic and architectural homogeneity - says UNESCO - that integrates in a particularly harmonious way with the alpine landscape it crosses".

The starting point of this itinerary is the railway station of Tirano (Sondrio) from where you get on the famous "Bernina red train". For information and to purchase tickets, please visit the Rhaetian Railway website
There are different types of trains: those of the standard line (which make all the stops and have standard windows) and the "Bernina Express" (BEX) with domed windows that allow a wide view of the surrounding landscape. Finally, during summer, it is possible to travel on uncovered panoramic carriages.

Leaving the station of Tirano, the red train enters the Poschiavo Valley. After just a few kilometres you can admire the helical viaduct of Brusio, a real gem of architecture and engineering, designed to overcome the difference in height. Between the stations of Tirano and St. Moritz there are 20 other stations where passengers can get off to visit the different villages. Only a few, however, are accessible to people with motor disabilities; before travelling, we suggest to visit the Rhaetian Railway website, select the station you are interested in and consult the details on accessibility.
Consult the
information on accessibility.

The Miralago stop and the next one in Le Prese allow you to enjoy a nice walk around the Poschiavo Lake (altitude: 962 meters a.s.l.). After a few kilometres you can visit the town of Poschiavo with its beautiful museums. From here begins the most spectacular stretch of the route, with the so-called "spiral path" of the train that performs several times a 180-degree turn to overcome the slopes of the mountain.

Then you can admire the Palù lake and, in the distance, the peak of the Piz Palù to get to the Alp Gruem station, an ideal stop for lovers of hiking and photography, and finally to the Hospice Bernina, the highest point of the whole itinerary . From here the train reaches St Moritz passing from the stations of Bernina Lagalb, Diavolezza (not to be missed for ski lovers) and Pontresina.

From St Moritz the journey continues to Thusis along the Albula line (for more information, please visit: https://www.rhb.ch/it/tempo-libero-escursioni/scoprire-il-cantone-dei-grigioni/linea-dellalbula): here the red train tackles a difference in altitude of over a thousand meters thanks to the viaducts of Solis and Landwasser and to the spectacular helicoidal tunnels between Bergün and Preda. Do not miss the Bergula Albula Railway Museum and the Albula Railway Adventure Trail, built along the railway line between the Albula tunnel and the Landwasser viaduct.

INFORMATION ON THE ACCESSIBILITY OF THE RED TRAIN
The Bernina Red Train is a 61-km railway line linking the Italian town of Tirano to St. Moritz (Switzerland); it is managed by the Rhaetian Railway
(for more information, please visit:
 https://www.rhb.ch/en/home)
Between the stations of Tirano and St. Moritz there are 20 other stations, all in Switzerland, where passengers can get off to visit their village.
On the Bernina Red Train there are no discounts for passengers with disabilities and their carers.
The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) provides a service for passengers with reduced mobility, to allow them to travel on the Bernina Red Train.
In some stations, assistance is available for getting on and off trains.
To request information on the accessibility of the stations and to book the assistance service, passengers with reduced mobility must contact the Call Centre Handicap FFS in advance: tel. 0800 007 102 (from Switzerland); tel +41 51 225 78 44 (from abroad).

Website e-mail: mobil@sbb.ch


ACCESSIBILITY OF TIRANO RAILWAY STATION
In Tirano, in Piazza delle Stazioni, there are two different train stations:

  • a Swiss station, run by the Rhaetian Railway, from which the Bernina train departs
  • an Italian station, run by RFI (Italian Railway Network), which connects Valtellina to Milan.

The Swiss station of the Rhaetian Railway, from which the Bernina Red Train departs, is accessible to people with reduced mobility, and has an accessible ticket office and toilets equipped for people with disabilities.
For more information, please contact the Call Centre Handicap FFS:
tel. 0800 007 102 (from Switzerland); tel +41 51 225 78 44 (from abroad).
or visit the
Website and send an e-mail to: mobil@sbb.ch
More information on the accessibility of the station at this link in the section "Passengers with a handicap".

The Italian station, run by RFI,  is equipped with both sound and visual information systems for the public; only the first track is accessible independently. There is no assistance service for passengers with reduced mobility.
For more information on accessibility, please visit the
RFI website
Reaching Tirano by train from an Italian town can thus be difficult for people with reduced mobility.

In via Calcagno a large free parking area is available; from here you can reach Piazza delle Stazioni through a pedestrian underpass, accessible to people with disabilities through a ramp. You can also park on the blue stripes in the streets adjacent to Piazza delle Stazioni.

ACCESSIBILITY OF SAINT MORITZ RAILWAY STATION
The train station where the Bernina Red Train arrives is accessible to people with reduced mobility; it has an accessible ticket office and toilets equipped for people with disabilities. For more information, please contact the Call Centre Handicap FFS:
tel. 0800 007 102 (from Switzerland); tel +41 51 225 78 44 (from abroad).
or visit the
Website and send an e-mail to:  mobil@sbb.ch
More information on the accessibility of the station at this link in the section "Passengers with a handicap".
From the station, via a pedestrian underpass with a ramp, you can reach the pedestrian cycle path along the lake of St. Moritz.
To reach the city centre from the station, you can proceed in the direction of the footbridge on the left of the parking outside the station; you reach the Serletta covered parking, where there are elevators that take you directly into the centre.

ACCESSIBILITY OF MINOR STATIONS
Between the stations of Tirano and St. Moritz there are 20 other stations where passengers can get off to visit the different villages.
Only some of these stations are accessible to wheelchair users; you can select the station you are interested in at
this link and see the details on accessibility in the section "Passengers with a Handicap".
For more information and to book the assistance service, if available, please contact the Call Centre Handicap FFS: tel. 0800 007 102 (from Switzerland); tel +41 51 225 78 44 (from abroad).
or
visit the Website: mobil@sbb.ch 

 

The Rhaetian Railway in the Bernina

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28/09/2018