2011-10-04 Preda-Bergun

In a short holiday in Switserland in October 2011 I walked the Bahnlehrpfad of the Rhaetian Railway.
DSC00520  The Bahnlerhpfad, meaning as much as Railway learning trail, takes you descending along the Albula line of the Rhaetian system between Preda an Bergün. Then you can take back the train up to Preda and see the line live and first hand. I would recommend every railway enthusiast to walk the trail. It is well signed and given a normal physical condition it will not pose any particular problem. Of course the normal safety precautions for normal mountain walking apply: good sturdy shoes, sufficient water, some food and some first aid stuff. The terrain is by no means dangerous. DSC00517  Start at Preda, immediately at the tunnel mouth of the Albula base tunnel. A small monument commemorates the harsh conditions under which railway lines in the mountains were constructed.   The sign says :   Building the Albula tunnel. Rock that killed 3 workers. 13 others also lost their lives. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten. DSC00518  Remains of a trial boring. DSC00527b
DSC00530b DSC00531 Bergün-Preda  Between Preda and Bergün the valley floor suddenly drops steeply. Too steep to overcome with normal track laying. So the track winds its way up, gaining height by reverse loops, no less than five over the short distance. DSC00533  This is just above the upper most two loops. Follow the train.
Preda  The viewpoint is at the lower right hand corner where the line just crossed the road. DSC00536  The train swings left before turning into a tight right hand curve into the first loop. DSC00537  Still from the same viewpoint: the train has left the first reverse loop, went through the half loop and now traverses the viaduct into the second reverse loop DSC00542  After having descended somewhat: in the foreground the exit of the first loop, and further down the viaduct towards the second loop
DSC00545  With occasionally trains passing. Ge 6/6/ II no 701 still going strong after more than fifty years.   Read more about this class.      The tree trunk at the right may serve as a reference for the next photo. DSC00546  From just about the same spot but seriously zoomed out. The Ge 6/6 has by now cleared the half loop. DSC00550 DSC00553  The learning path is adorned by sign explaining the whys and hows of its construction and any particular points of interest.
DSC00554  View down on the half loop connecting the two reverse loops. DSC00560-65  A panorama. At the far right the upper loop. Running from right to left in the fore ground the exit of the first loop. In the background the viaduct towards the second loop. P1000124  The path descended steeply onto the valley floor. I did not wait for a train to pass. In hindsight I regret that. P1000125
DSC00578  Stunning view. DSC00582b P1000132  Another viaduct down the line DSC00583  Ow, oops. (On March 27th, 1989, my beloved wife etc etc perished by a fall from the riding train)
DSC00584  Very oops P1000130 DSC00587  The third reverse loop exits the lower end of the tunnel here DSC00589  From almost the same viewpoint the higher end of the reverse loop can be seen. Preda is to the left, a train for Bergun will turn left into the mountain to enter te reverse loop.
DSC00594  After the third reverse loop the path stays on the left hand side of the valley. Trains though run at the right hand side. Bergün  Two more loops just before Bergün. Directly from the west al three tracks can bee seen simultanuously. DSC00609  like this DSC00610 16 25
DSC00621  Stunning scenery DSC00631  After a good ninety minutes' walk I reached Bergün. DSC00636  At the staion stands a plinthed Ge 6/6 I DSC00639b
DSC00641 DSC00643 P1000142  The Zeughaus (tool shed) is under reconstruction, as is the whole station area of Bergün. It will house a small railway museum. DSC00646  Another Ge 6/6 II.
DSC00647 DSC00648b DSC00650  Huh? DSC00652  Luckely the guy moved out of harms way in time. Ge 6/6 III no 641 (remember?) on its return trip
DSC00653 DSC00658  After that, the goods train set off. DSC00660  ooooooh. DSC00669  Trying to combine rail and mountain in one shot
DSC00678  A Ge 4/4/ II with a track maintenance train arriving at Bergün DSC00686 DSC00687b DSC00688  My train back to Preda enters the scene
DSC00694 DSC00698  And before long I was off DSC00700  View back to Bergün DSC00701
DSC00703  The train winds its way up, toward the lowest reverse loop at Bergün. It is now on the lowest of the three tracks. You can see the second stage half way up the photo. The train is travelling more or less south. DSC00706  In that second stage between the two loops. Train is travelling north. DSC00707  View on Bergün, half way in the photo the lowest stage of the line. DSC00709
DSC00711  Bergün station. Not the sharpest photo, but for the record. DSC00712  Entering the upper loop at Bergün. DSC00714  And now travelling south again, second stage in the meadows, lowest stage further afield left. DSC00716
DSC00720  An abandoned station DSC00721  The lowest loop at Preda in sight, the crane at the left is used to reconstruct a road bridge over the Albula river. It is landmark to orientate on Preda (2)  On the top the lowest loop. The middle and upper loops cross each other eight times!! DSC00725  The afore mentioned road bridge. The crane is at the far left.
DSC00729  After the loop. The lower part of the line crosses the river. The crane is at the right. The train has just completed a 270 degree right hand turn. DSC00734  Last view back, with again the crane now in the middle DSC00737  In the lowest part of the middle and upper loops Preda (3)
DSC00739  After the middle loop, entering the viaduct towards the connecting half loop. DSC00741  Looking down form the viaduct on the lowest part of the middle loop. DSC00742 DSC00750  Sharp curves, steep gradients and stunning views that just about summarizes the Albula line.
DSC00751  After the upper loop DSC00756  Reaching Preda DSC00758 DSC00764  An former Rheatian train driver now piloting planes??
DSC00766b DSC00768 DSC00769  The platform is somewhat short for this train DSC00774  After having spent some lovely hours between Bergün and Preda we went home but could not resist calling at the Landwasser viaduct.  This 65 m high landmark is not accesible by road but an extremely easy 20 min walk will take you there.
DSC00776  The low autumn sun gave a special glint to the scene, the cloudless steel blue air gave a stunning background. This is awesome. Stuff for picture books photographs. DSC00779 DSC00795  The viaduct enters a tunnel in a vertical rock face DSC00781  We waited for a train, and Yess, we had our picture of the day. Or at least so we thought.
DSC00784 DSC00785 DSC00804  We waited for another twenty odd minutes for another train. But the sun was now setting fast and it would soon turn dark. I made this shot as a goodbye photo. Then.... we heard the distinct rumbling sound of an approaching train. I spurted back. DSC00805  Oh no!!!! This can't be!!
DSC00806  Oh yes, it can!! This is the Glacier express!! I just could not believe my luck, Switserlands most famous express train passing over it most famous viaduct in perfect weather in perfect lighting condition. DSC00809  The train slowed down to allow passengers a good view from the viaduct. And by the way allowing me to concentrate on making good photos. DSC00826 DSC00830  Japanese in "see Europe in ten days" mood.