To Italy by train

During a week’s walking holiday in Switzerland, Dad and I took a day off for a trip by train (in fact nine trains) to Tirano in Italy.

Having got a train from Davos to Klosters, another has taken us through the Vereinatunnel, the longest metre-gauge railway tunnel in the world, to Saglians, where we wait by the River Inn for our third train, to Pontresina
The fourth train take us up the Bernina valley, with views of the high mountains and glaciers.
The upper Bernina valley as we near the summit
Lago Bianco at the summit of the line: we reach 2253m above sea level, the highest adhesion railway in Europe and the highest crossing in Switzerland.
At Alp Grum, there are views of the glacier descending from Piz Zupo
One of the many viaducts and galleries carrying our line down from 2253m to 438m
The big descent is into the Pochiavo valley, with five long zig-zags allowing the railway to lose height
The village of San Carlo is still in Switzerland but showing stronger Italian influences in architecture
Lago di Poschiavo is lovely
The town of Brusio, heralding one of the famous features of the line
The Rhaetian Railway has a number of spirals to lose or gain height, but usually they are buried inside a mountain. The Brusio spiral viaduct keeps it all in the open. We are about to do a 360-degree turn to lose more height
Here we head onto the Brusio viaduct
And soon after have completed a turn and head under the viaduct
At journey’s end for now, and a little exploration of Tirano: the slightly uninspiring river
The Sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin of Tirano dates from the 16th century
We had a drink and gelato at a cafe next to the church
And next to our cafe is the railway line, which is somewhat more of a tram line at this stage, with the road vehicles having to give their space to these regular long trains heading through the town.
The train ignores the roundabout signs
Here’s a train heading to St Moritz from Tirano
On our return journey, on train number 5, we sat behind the driver for a great alternative view. Here’s the train running along the road
In a number of villages, the train takes to the road, whistling away and in some places forcing lorries and cars to take to the pavements to get out of its way.
I wish I’d taken a video earlier, during the more dramtic sections of the climb from the low levels towards the Bernina Pass, but anyway here’s a little bit of the descent close to Pontresina.
Our 8th train of the day was from Filisur to Davos Platz, and turned out to be a heritage train, with one of the original “crocodile” electric lomotives from the earliest times on the line, towing some goods wagons and then heritage passenger carriages. It didn’t quite keep to the modern timetable, but it was a lovely additional twist towards the end of our day.

Leave a Reply