Contura - RhB

Contura - RhB

Autumn / Winter 2013 / 14


The magazine of the Rhaetian Railway


Annual traditions

of Graubünden

By vocation

A man with a plan:

the timetabler

Glacier Express

Multi-culti world of

the Glacier Express

Wild Card

A journey in the 19 th century

Before we commence our wanderings through the hitherto untravelled

valleys around the Bernina, it may be useful to gather together a few of the

principal characteristics of a region at present but little known in England.


or more luxuriant vegetation", than in the Grisons. "It contains more

other district in the exhibition of those wonderful contrasts of sternness

and beauty in which Nature gives play to her caprices."

To no part of the canton can this description be more truly applied than

to the Ober-Engadine and its many lateral valleys, which spread their

branches far into the mountain region round the Bernina, extending upwards

until they meet the chilling embraces of the glacier, or are enveloped

in a mantle of snow. Nature is here seen in her most varied and attractive

forms, – sparkling, transparent lakes, enshrined in rich pastoral

by giants of the Alpine world, in their wildest, most imposing, and most

beautiful aspects.

© Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, London 1862

(available print on demand from Amazon through the British Library

Historical Print Editions programme)



Traditionally at the forefront

For almost 125 years now, the Rhaetian Railway has been

going strong. It's impossible to now imagine Graubünden

or Switzerland without it – one of the world's foremost

railways. However, the rapid progress made by the RhB,

even in the 21 st century, cannot be taken for granted.

And it is not so easy to achieve as might be supposed. We

Ivo Hutter

are currently ordering traction units and commuter trains

Head of Rolling


be operating in 40 years' time. It takes vision to predict

how and how often people will be travelling by train that far ahead. Anyone

without a century of experience will be lost, or consigned to the sidelines.

I guarantee that you will be able to rely on an

ultra-modern RhB now and in the future.


Rielle La Bella

Head of Human


Everyone knows the RhB is an attractive employer in

Graubünden, the third-largest in this mountainous canton.

It focuses on the long-standing, but not the old fashioned.

Around 1,400 employees keep our railway moving – and

keep it young. At present, we are training 107 apprentices

while also seeking to attract more women train drivers. Of

course not all the company's talent works full-time: some

pursue other careers, such as airline pilot or oenologist,

as well as driving trains. They are all prepared to go that

extra mile for the RhB – like veteran track worker Walter

Gubser, whom we accompany in this edition of "Contura".

I wish you lots of fun on your literary journey

with the RhB and its employees.

PS: Keep up to date with the exciting RhB newsletter –

subscribe today:



Which way?


Customs Annual traditions of Graubünden

20 32 46


Bündner Röteli:

a full-bodied juice

UNESCO World Heritage RhB

Bernina: mountain of

legends and passion

Next stop

Engadin Skimarathon:

rolling along!


Publishing details: © Copyright /Published by: Rhaetian Railway Inc, Bahnhofstrasse 25, 7002 Chur | Technical

details: Rhaetian Railway | Concept / text: panta rhei pr gmbh | Graphics: Süsskind SGD Chur | Photos: Archive

of the Rhaetian Railway, Archive of Graubünden Ferien, Y. Andrea, A. Badrutt, G. Brüngger, Foto Geiger, T. Keller,

M. Kobald, G. Krischker, A. Mettler, Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Poster Collection, © ZHdK, M. Schade, Sedrun

Bergbahnen, Chr. Sonderegger, Tourist Board St. Moritz, S. Triacca | Printed in Switzerland, issue no. 3, 2013

Contura is available online

via or

as an app for your iPad.

16 Scena

Once upon a time …

10 By vocation

A man with a plan:

the timetabler

14 Customs

Annual traditions of Graubünden

20 Tradition

Bündner Röteli:

a full-bodied juice

24 Window seat

26 The Albula Line

The world’s most beautiful

railway at night

32 UNESCO World Heritage RhB

Bernina: mountain of

legends and passion

36 Glacier Express

Multi-culti world of

the Glacier Express

41 Did you know?

42 What do …

… the PistenBully drivers

in Sedrun do in summer?

44 Famous names

The locomotive: 'Bernina'

45 We proudly present

'C 2012': the oldest RhB

third-class carriage

46 Next stop

Engadin Skimarathon:

rolling along!

50 From the workshop

A local hero: the sledge maker

from Sri Lanka

56 Rail network

Highlights of the

Rhaetian Railway

58 Good to know

Green, red, orange: RhB

signals and signs

60 Competition

61 For your diary

Our events at a glance

62 RhB to hand

Brochures and tourist maps

63 Railshop

Souvenirs for all ages

Handy: RhB tourist

maps and brochures

to download.

Webcode 2187

How does the webcode work?



Once upon

a time …

Discover Graubünden:

The Engadin Circular Tour

through the Inn Valley.


6 Poster from 1921: Zuoz – Switzerland – Engadin, design: Ernst Emil Schlatter

Climb 1,000 metres

in an hour: The Arosa

Line takes you to the

climatic spa. 552

Poster from 1937: Arosa, design: Hugo Laubi


Fun on ice: With the

RhB special trains to the

championship games

of HC Davos. 974

8 Poster from 1914: Winter in Davos, design: Burkhard Mangold

History in St. Moritz:

With the elegant 1930s

Pullman Express from

St. Moritz to Zermatt.


Poster from 1924: St. Moritz, design: Carl Moos


By vocation

A man with a plan:

the timetabler

Working for the RhB:

Get your career

on track – find out

more at 89

10 A visionary with 35 years’ experience: Marco Margadant in front of "his" timetable in Chur


Margadant personally ensures

You could call him the Head of the rolling timetable. Here at the

Operations Centre in Landquart is where all the strands come together

– and things can get pretty tricky here when the weather

wreaks havoc with the points or power supply. Marco Margadant,

RhB Head of Timetabling, makes split-second decisions to keep

the trains running on time. Punctuality is his absolute top priority.

Is that a spider’s web or maybe even a sewing pattern laid out on the



how the timetable for the year after next might look: "We are always


"We are always

ahead of time. We

Simulation with a mouse click

have to be – just

like our partners."




The devil is in the

detail: line by

line, level by level,

Marco Margadant

develops his network

plan – until


cent of his working time is spent in coordination meetings – with col-



Learning from scratch

in Landquart. After training to become an engine driver in 1979, he drove

trains across the entire network until 1990, including a year on the mountainous

track from Chur to Arosa. "That was really interesting. Technically,

terms, as the special traction units had a tendency to malfunction and the

track itself isn’t without challenges. In winter we often came across surprises:

a fallen tree that cut overhead power lines or snow masses blocking

the way." In the meantime Margadant knows almost every sleeper on

the 384 kilometres of track. In 1990 he began training other engine driv-

even as a timetabler, I still like to visit my colleagues on the front lines."

Planning and Control) since 2001, is convinced that "travelling the routes

in person is the best way to identify the trouble spots in scheduling terms

so that I can plan more realistically."


Headache over six minutes

It’s a matter of only a few minutes when it comes to Margadant’s highest


for slow speeds. That’s what eats up the most time. Together with infrastructure

specialists, he must knowingly factor in delays

"Travelling along months in advance to ensure his plan works out. The two

the routes in person

interchange stations, Landquart and Chur, where passengers

have to catch their SBB connections, are key.

lets me identify

the trouble spots."

Marco Margadant

again this otherwise calm man can lose his patience.

to tread on other people’s toes. But that cannot be avoided. The structure

must stand – by whatever means necessary." And if the worst actually

comes to the worst, Margadant recalls a tip he was given by a high-ranking


is another day." As was the case in 1999, for example, the winter of

avalanches where the timetablers didn’t know from one day to the next

what was happening, or rather what was running.

He takes a sporting view of special days

Speaking of challenging moments: when does Marco Margadant real-

That’s when this visionary from Chur produces an interim timetable – with

planned delays! "Leaving nothing to chance, of course, but following an

exact special timetable of whose details customers are not – and don’t

need to be – aware. The main thing is that we have the expected delays

events of this kind, where a large number of passengers require transport.

It gives him the freedom to do as he likes, to his heart’s content.




traditions of


14 In Graubünden, traditions like the romantic 'Schlitteda' shown here are very important

In Graubünden, ancient customs and

traditions are given pride of place.

Every year, centuries-old traditions

are observed in the local communities

and villages.

RhB RailHit: One

person pays, the

other travels free.



'Twelfth Night and Carol Singers'

In Catholic regions, children dressed as

the Three Kings go from house to house

on Twelfth Night. They sing old and new

Epiphany carols and religious airs from

the 17 th century. Often, the kings are

accompanied by someone carrying a

star, as well as by servants or soldiers.

Dressed in colourful costumes with glittering

crowns, they make their way

through the villages, collecting money

for child relief organisations – as well as

for sweets!



'Schlitteda Engadinaisa'

Every year, on a Sunday in January or

February, the inhabitants of Oberengadin

celebrate the 'Schlitteda Engadinaisa'.

The exact date of this village festival

is decided by the 'Guiventüna', a committee

of young men. On this occasion,

the villagers – dressed in their traditional

red-and-black Engadin costumes

– embark on a two-hour ride through

the snow-clad countryside in festively

decorated horse-drawn sleighs. In the

old days, only unmarried couples took

part in the 'Schlitteda'. A young man

would formally invite his girl to accompany

him on the sleigh ride. Over the

years, this custom has turned into a village

festival for both singles and married

couples alike. The 'Schlitteda Ball'

February / March


men of Untervaz leave home at dusk and

make their way up to a place overlooking

the village, each carrying a burning

torch, a long hazel stick and discs made

of beechwood. At the agreed spot, each

of them places his disc on the end of

the stick, lights it with the torch until it

glows red-hot and then propels it from

the starting ramp into the valley below.

As each disc is thrown, the young man

shouts out a dedication to a special girl

or unmarried woman. Afterwards, there

is a torchlight procession accompanied

by a brass band. Back in the village, the

young men visit the girls, who serve

them food and drink. This ancient tradition

is also celebrated in similar fashion

in the Surselva region.




On 1 March, children wearing peasant

smocks and pointed red caps make

their way through the village singing

songs, ringing cowbells and cracking

whips. The din is supposed to drive

away the winter. The tradition of 'Chalandamarz'

is beautifully described in

the famous Swiss children’s book 'Schellenursli'

('A Bell for Ursli'). This custom

exists in the valleys of Engadin, Müstair,

Bergell, Puschlav, Misox, Oberhalbstein

and Albula, although it may vary from

village to village. In Scuol, a whip-cracking

contest is held. In Ftan, the 'Chalandamarz'

resembles a carnival procession

– young men dress up and torment

In Poschiavo and Misox a snowman is

burned as a symbol of winter.



After the snows have melted, the men

and boys from Furna meet on two or

three Sundays to play 'Hürnä', a simpler

version of the Swiss sport of 'Hornussen'.

'Hürnä' is only played in this village in

Prättigau. The wooden starting block is

set up at the bottom of the slope. The

target area lies about 20 metres higher

up. Players have to propel the 'Huri' (a

wooden disc rather like the puck used in

ice hockey) from the starting block into

the target area, using a two-metre-long

hazel stick. The defending team tries to

stop the Huri in mid air with shovel-like

catching boards. Every Huri reaching the

target area without being caught scores

a point. If the Huri hits a member of the

catching team, the throwing team scores

two points.




For nearly 160 years – since 1854 –

school children in Chur have made an

annual trip to the alpine pastures, the

'Maiensässfahrt', on a sunny day in

May. At seven in the morning about

3,000 schoolchildren and their teachers

leave the town through its upper gateway

and proceed to the surrounding alpine

pastures, where they spend the day

playing and enjoying a barbecue. In the

evening, the townsfolk line up to welcome

the children back. This is followed

by a procession to the Quaderwiese. Af-

traditional songs to mark the occasion.

The highlight of the day is when one of

the teachers calls out to the children:

"… there will be no school


The Alpine town:

mountain air and

city life. 2203

May / June

'Kränzli and Tschäppel'

Every year on Ascension Day, mothers

and grandmothers in Prättigau pick

gentians, forget-me-nots, buttercups,

woven into garlands for their daughters

and granddaughters. The boys receive

adorned and dressed in either traditional

costume or their Sunday best, the

villagers make their way to the church,

and Pany, the children have the honour

of being driven to the church by pony

cart. Each village celebrates Ascension


a festive procession before or after

the church service.




The ancient tradition of 'Kastanien-Klopfen'

(chestnut tapping) is encountered

only in Bergell. In this region the chest-

special huts ('Cascine'). During the merry

festivities in November the inhabitants

of Bergell 'tap' the chestnuts to separate

the fruit from the shell. In most of

Italian-speaking Switzerland and the

Bergell region of Graubünden, chestnuts

were a staple food of the population

for hundreds of years. In the old

days, it also used to be considered very

important to store the chestnuts correctly

in purpose-built outhouses. To

this day, the people of Bergell celebrate

the chestnut festival every autumn in

honour of 'their' chestnut.



In Scuol, the villagers celebrate the end

of the year on 31 December by making

little candlelit boats or 'Barchinas', as

they are called in the Vallader dialect of

Romansh. This festival of lights is of pagan

origin. On New Year’s Eve, the chil-

shells or bark with liquid wax and provide

them with a wick. Then they light



of this festival is the celebration of

the winter solstice on 21 or 22 December,

but it now takes place a few days

later to make room for the Christian fes-

boats serve to symbolise the victory of

light over the darkness of night.



Bündner Röteli:

a full-bodied juice

20 Balance is the name of the game, says Rico Kindschi, Producer of Kindschi Bündner Röteli

Bündner 'Zwipf': The RhB

'Marenda' (snack) box is

filled with Bündner specialities

– including a Röteli

from Kindschi. 33

No need to be ashamed if you’ve not (yet) heard of Bündner Röteli!

But we can promise you that once you have tasted this spicy, dark

red traditional drink, you will love it. It may put you in holiday

mood - or make you feel homesick. People who are on their way

to the Landwasser Valley and Davos often stop off in Schiers for a

glass of Röteli produced by Kindschi Söhne AG.

"My grandfather was a charmer. He went from one farm to the next, wooing

all the farm girls. Surreptitiously, he managed to elicit each girl’s secret

recipe. And that’s how we created our own secret recipe for Bündner

Röteli", says Rico Kindschi with a straight face that reveals the dry humour

typical of mountain people. This wine merchant and producer of schnapps,

who lives in Davos, is something of a sly old dog when it comes to the in-

the supermarkets. For centuries, people from Graubünden have enthused

about this cherry liqueur, which is actually made from dried cherries.

Who invented it? The Walser folk

Rötelis used to be two a penny. Or, in the words of Rico Kindschi, "They

say there are as many Röteli recipes as there are mothers-in-law." Every

farmer’s wife in and around Davos, in Prättigau, Domleschg and even the

cantonal capital of Chur would prepare her own Röteli. Wherever people

drank Röteli, there would be a Walser settlement nearby. This tribe of

mountain dwellers, who migrated long ago from the Valais over the passes

into Graubünden, invented this amazing drink which later became wide-


To make good

Röteli you need

pailfuls of highquality


and spices.

spread. Recipes were handed down from family to family and from generation

to generation. Basically, Röteli is no more than water, schnapps,

Year’s Eve. "In the old days, the married men would see the old year out.

And the bachelors would see the new year in. They would go from one

farmhouse to another to wish the occupants good luck and prosperity in

the new year, particularly in their stables. Or, more precisely, it gave them

a chance to woo the farmers’ daughters. As a reward, they received a sip

of Röteli. One sip followed another – as did the (more or less virtuous)

wishes they expressed", says Kindschi with a grin. He grew up in Davos

Dorf, where Kindschi Söhne AG operated their distillery until 2012. He too

used to visit the farmhouses in this manner. He says it was a novel way of

dating, long before Internet and Facebook. Thanks to this magic potion,

many a friendship or life-partnership was formed.

The best Röteli is well-balanced

individual spice should predominate. Balance is the name of the game." It

is not without a touch of pride that he mentions the 100,000 litres that he

produces every year. And his production is on the increase. Davos is clearly

the leading centre of production of this liqueur. So, how do you make

good Röteli? First, he needs good-quality dried cherries. I beg your pardon?

Cherries in Davos, 1,500 metres above sea level, far above the level

for fruit-growing? A long time ago, dried cherries (which could be kept a

long time) would be transported here on pack animals from Italy and the

he has to order 3-4 tons of cherries from Turkey, because Swiss producers

steel tank contains 240 kilograms of cherries and 16 kilograms of spices

including cinnamon, vanilla, cloves and cardamom - the other ingredients

remain a secret. Then he adds 2,000 litres of fruit schnapps (mostly

from apples or pears) with an alcohol content of 40 per cent. The cherries


substances as possible, including aromas from the cherry stones, which


The Bündner Röteli, with its well-known label on the packaging,

is then sent out into the big wide world, for example to Bangkok, where a

customer sells typical Swiss specialities, or to the World Economic Forum,

where the Röteli is served to participants in glass 'Alp horns'.

People know and love it

"You cannot imagine the emotions that our Röteli arouses. For example,

there is the ibex on the new label", says Kindschi. When he and his advertising

agent decided to change the picture on the label, some customers

were over the moon because now they felt closer to the mountains of

Graubünden, while others supposedly detected a change in taste, which

"The name comes from

remained unchanged - for generations. Rico Kindschi

has worked in the distillery since he was a child.

'rote Kirschen', which

He learned the art of distilling schnapps at the Institute

for Fermentation and Biotechnology in Ber-

means red cherries."

Rico Kindschi

lin. After that, he worked as a distiller at Volg before

he and his brother took over

the family business. "We don’t yet know whether

a sixth generation will be able to carry on the

family business. Although we hope so. This is why

we continue to invest in the business", says Kindschi.

Like their ancestors with their pack animals,

the Kindschis moved down towards the valley in

2012. They relocated to Schiers (also a former Wal-

the-art distillery and sales centre, right opposite

the station. And Rico Kindschi commutes to his

new workplace on the RhB.


Window seat

One-franc special: Free

pass to skiing fun in

selected winter sports

regions! 222

Shep Sonstegard (23)

from Minnesota in the

US is en route from

Bergün to Basel.

"I’ve already covered the entire Rhaetian Railway

network on my travels."

Hi, do you mind if we sit next to

you for a moment?

Excuse me? I don’t understand.

a really beautiful country – and the best

way to enjoy the stunning views is on

board a train.

Oh, you speak English.

Where are you from?

From Minnesota, USA. That’s near the

border with Canada.

And what brings you to Bergün,

on board this RhB train?

I’m currently on a two-month trip around

Switzerland and do all my travelling by

train. My father and brother are here too,

in Basel – that’s where I’m heading for

right now, via Chur.

What did you do in Bergün?

I went snowboarding today. But I also

came here once for the night sledging,

that was really awesome! Switzerland is

What other places in Switzerland

have you visited?

I’ve also been to St. Moritz, Davos and

biggest fun snowboarding!

travelled with the RhB

As a matter of fact, it isn’t. I think I’ve

already covered the entire RhB network

on my travels.

And what did you like best about

your trips with the RhB?

That’s easy: the ride on the Glacier Express

was fantastic! I would recommend

it to every tourist who comes here.


Anette Joos with her

husband Ingo Geiselhart

and two sons Lukas

and Fabian.

"That the RhB gets you to the top of the sledge

run from Bergün to Preda is really practical."

Grüezi! You are quite obviously kitted

out to go sledging. Are you heading

back up to Preda?

Yes, we’re just waiting for the train up

to Preda. But our sledging adventure is

over for the day.

And why are you making the trip back

up to Preda again?

We’re staying there overnight. We’ve

been here a few times before for sledging

– this is our … fourth time.

We also like the whole area and all the

small villages.

Do you understand the Swiss German

dialect that is spoken in the villages

here in Graubünden?

Our town, Weingarten in the south-west

of Germany, is just over half an hour’s

drive from Lake Constance and the Swiss

border. And, as we mentioned, we come

here a lot. Swiss German isn’t a problem

for us – at least we can understand it …

Then you obviously like the sledge run

from Preda to Bergün …

And how! It’s extra long – that’s really

great. And the fact that we can travel

back up to Preda as often as we like

with the RhB one-day travelpass makes

it particularly practical. But we don’t

just come here for the toboggan run.

So have you already travelled with

the RhB many times on your previous

visits here?

We travel by train a lot – even back home

in Germany. On train trips with the Rhaetian

Railway, however, the landscape is

especially beautiful.


The world’s

most beautiful

railway at night

Railway adventures:




The section of the RhB line between Bergün and Preda is impressive

enough by day. After ten at night it is even more exciting.

"Contura" looks over the shoulder of track worker Walter Gubser

as he works on the tracks of the RhB.

Hard work - yesterday and today


UNESCO World Heritage


Snow against ice


A dream job – even if nobody applauds you

"We want our trains

and passengers to

travel safely on the

RhB network."

The steam-powered monster

Snow cannot always be used to insulate the rails - sometimes it

needs to be removed from the track: in winter, it takes a crew

of up to ten to pilot the steam-powered snowplough Xrot 9213

through walls of snow which may be several metres high along

the Bernina Line.

One of the smaller

wonders of the world:


UNESCO World Heritage RhB


mountain of legends

and passion

Bernina Express:

The panoramic journey

from glaciers to palms

is a spectacular experience.



Bernina: one mountain, a thousand tales

The Bernina is Gian Luck’s greatest love. In the truest sense of

the word: the guide from Pontresina knows the mountain like

the back of his hand. His enthusiasm is infectious. Patrick Burger

from the Bellaluna cultural centre in Filisur prefers to admire

the 4,049-metre giant from a distance. And recommends it to his

sporting guests. Two stories. One mountain.


as a mountain guide in Pontresina, as managing director

of the climbing school in Pontresina – and as

president of the Graubünden mountain guide asso-

Gian Luck, passionate

mountain guide from


Rosa and all the Bernese peaks." The people he guides are look-


a number of demanding tours. Because the Bernina is by no

means an easy climb. The Pontresina mountain guides generally


Gian Luck: "Sunrise on the Bernina is absolutely fantastic", he enthuses.


refuge there."

the Bernina range is unlikely to

and there an animal, timidly sur-

could be more beautiful?" asks

Gian Luck, a passionate mountain

erything to him.

Where Gian Luck is in his element: guiding

climbers on the Bianco ridge of the Bernina.


Bellaluna – a magical place

By the light of the full

moon: The mystical


Witches, ore and tales of murder: the

stories surrounding the Bellaluna res-

Patrick Burger.

Why is the building called Bellaluna?


house its name one drunken full moon

morning. Our forest clearing is reputed

to be one of the most famous spots for

they met to dance by the light of the full


for Holland.

make you feel?

room dedicated to her in Bellaluna and

a small Paula Roth museum. There's also


There are pictures by Paula Roth in the



anyone pressing the play button.

What is it that makes this place and

this area so magical?

nature and a desire for

culture and good food

attracts guests to Bellaluna.

Glacier Express

Multi-culti world of

the Glacier Express

It’s always worth a trip:

Just as delightful in

winter as in summer –

a trip on board the

Glacier Express. 34

36 Loving the food and the views: Namrata Surendar and Rahul Prasad on the Glacier Express

It’s among the world’s top ten rail journeys: the Glacier Express.

The RhB’s flagship line attracts people from every corner

of the globe. Every day a new mix of nations creates a

microcosmic world on board: three encounters as this cultural

melting pot makes its way from St. Moritz to Zermatt.

Coach 44, seats 11 and 12, 2 nd class:

Indian food with Namrata Surendar und Rahul Prasad

They have only been in Switzerland for ten days. Both come from

Bangalore in the south of India. And they are now living in Passug,

just above Chur. How on earth did they end up here in this Swiss

holiday region? The answer is tourism. The budding professionals are

pursuing postgraduate studies at the Swiss School of Tourism and

Hospitality. And the Glacier Express marks their inaugural visit. Their

of tranquillity. This breathtaking experience is perfect for Indian

visitors, she adds. Apropos: the two hotel professionals have preordered

Indian meals. Namrata is enjoying the vegetarian jalfrezi



Namrata explains. Both agree that the main courses taste authentic.

They could be a little bit spicier, though. But the Europeans are cau-


mustard seeds or a couple of deep-fried curry leaves would make it that bit

Coach 44, seats 45 and 46, 2 nd class:

Celebrating with Renate and Friedrich Schliephake

four days seemed just the thing, especially when you get a good package

from near Goslar in Germany, where they normally travel on the Brocken

railway – sometimes even by steam train.

The train winds its way through the autumnal Rhine Gorge, Switzer-


which the singer Leonard travels around.


now exceeding all their expectations. They

dish of the day is served: goulash, rice and

vegetables. They reserved their seats in advance,

but not the meal. They wanted that

to be a surprise. They appear to be enjoying

it, eating in silence as they listen to the information

through their earphones. If only


Souvenir photo in front of the Glacier Express

– the train that embodies the best of Switzerland

in concentrated form.



He tucks in, the two portions disappear in record time. Did it taste

come again. And go on the Bernina Express next time. They have bought

thousands of photos, we would rather show our friends back home these


Everything is taken care of

on the Glacier Express: great

Coach 45, seats 43 and 44, 1 st class:

The view from Japan with Shoichi Tamura and Satuki Hirata

special excursion. All equipped with at least one camera. The sound of non-

the stretch of track between Chur and Disentis, where everything is high

speed. The three-course meal is served up with military precision. Sal-


is superlative – everyone is agreed on that. And the windows in the

on the Ito line, someone suggests, the express train between Tokyo and


Shoichi Tamura from Tokyo. He travelled

on the classic train in the Andes with his wife.

Today they are accompanied by a friend. Have


The slowest express

train in the world

The eight-hour journey is unfor- shopping, the tour guide explains. If they buy

anything at all, they tend to splash out on lux-


of the rich and

famous, the alpine air of Davos,

donned, warm jackets buttoned up. Ready for

In winter, St. Moritz to Zermatt

from CHF 128.50 incl. 3-course

meal served at your seat

in the world.


Did you know?

A world of figures

Around 1,400 people work for the Rhaetian Railway in more than 200 different occupations:

from railway track workers on the Bernina Line (or 'navvies' as they used

to be known) to train guards on the slowest express train in the world to IT specialists.

Alongside Swiss citizens, the RhB employs people from Albania, Austria, Croatia,

Germany, Italy, Macedonia, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal and Serbia – a veritable

potpourri from 11 countries around the world. The average age is 45.8 years old –

ranging from the 107 apprentices and trainees to the 12 pensioners who support the

RhB as tour guides, for example. On the subject of helping out: in 2003, the umbrella

association 'historic RhB' was founded for the preservation, restoration and maintenance,

public display and operation of the RhB’s historic rolling stock. The umbrella

organisation comprises six member associations – devoted to various aspects of

railway history ranging from saloon cars to steam engines, narrow gauge and model

railways to tourism – as well as the 'Bahnmuseum Albula Bergün' foundation. Its

catalogue of the historic rolling stock currently includes 52 objects that it aims to

preserve for future generations. In 2014, the RhB will celebrate its 125 th anniversary:

during all these years, 241 locomotives and trains have been travelling on the

rail network, including 47 different types of engine – not counting service vehicles.

Keeping the RhB tracks si

in ntop

condition: ion

the 'navvies', v

or rr railway ay

maintenance na

nce workers



What do ...

... the PistenBully

drivers in Sedrun do

in summer?

Their job is to tame the snow – that force of nature – in a landscape

of extremes where temperatures can fall as low as minus 30

degrees Celsius. The drivers of the snow groomers in the Sedrun

Oberalp ski resort brave the frosty conditions from early December

to just after Easter. But what happens when the snow is gone?

33-year-old Armin Manetsch is actually a trained mechanic, who has taken

over the running of his parents’ farm, where he is actively involved – as

long as there is no snow. For Manetsch’s true passion is driving ski slope

preparation vehicles. "We PistenBully drivers mostly have seasonal jobs

that require manual dexterity – this is something we all have in common",

the farmer says. 'Snow grooming', or 'piste bashing' as it is known

in the trade, is considered an ideal way for farmers, joiners, lorry drivers,

construction and forestry workers in the mountain regions to make money

on the side. "You really have to be mad about big machines to do this

job", states Manetsch, who dreamed about driving a snow groomer since

he was a boy. "As a mechanic, I am naturally fascinated with the technol-


Snowshoe tours:

guides on the best

tours along the RhB

network. 1756

Operating heavy snow grooming vehicles

ogy behind these gigantic machines." Viewed from this angle, there are

certainly parallels to be found between his two jobs: large vehicles are a

part of his everyday work in both, whether a tractor or a snow groomer.

Waiting until nature is ready

In farming and snow grooming alike, it is nature that determines the work

rhythm: in good weather, the PistenBully vehicles swarm out onto the

slopes as early as 5:00 pm, only returning well after midnight. If snow

is falling, the drivers start work at four in the morning. They then groom


hit the well-prepared slopes. "As a PistenBully driver, you need to be

of one of these monsters at the age of 20. "The length of a shift varies.

In exceptional cases, you can work up to 13 or 14 hours a day – on a nice

day following heavy snowfall, for example." Patience with nature is also

required when there is a danger of avalanche: at times like these, the

would be too dangerous for them to drive back. Luckily, there are enough

restaurants in the ski resorts where they can stay overnight. And where


is the weather: fog and snowstorms make the landmarks

and contours disappear. The only thing you can do then is wait

until visibility improves." Ultimately, the slopes should appear

smoother than smooth. No easy task: "The tracks left by the

snow groomers are four metres wide – to get these narrowly

aligned without any unevenness is a true art. It requires a lot of

for whom piste bashing is more of a hobby than an occupation.

Armin Manetsch (33):

farmer in summer,

proud PistenBully

spent too much time out there - in my PistenBully."

driver in winter.


Famous names

The locomotive 'Bernina'

On 7 March 2012, the 'Bernina' was sent into well-earned retirement. However,

that doesn't necessarily mean a quiet life for this locomotive, which

was constructed in 1947. On the contrary, the "old lady" is spending her

retirement at the Swiss Museum of Transport in Lucerne. A fitting final assignment

for a locomotive that can look back on an exciting life.

Classic locomotives on the RhB network


sister 'Badus' (serial


in Germany. Still

of the Swiss canton of Graubünden.


We proudly present

'C 2012': the oldest RhB third-class carriage

In 1889 it was still called 'C 32', in 1911 it was known as 'C 2012' and in 1940

'X 9034'. But during its long years of service, the historical third-class carriage

experienced much more than a few renumberings. In 1994 the Rhaetian

Railway sent the carriage into permanent retirement on the sidings.

It took 'Club 1889' to bring the relic back to life.

In 1989 the Rhaetian Railway celebrated its centenary. To mark the occasion, it

However, the accompanying carriages were overlooked: a complete, authentic composition

of two passenger cars and a luggage coach was languishing in obscurity,

demoted to the status of service vehicle. In 1996 this fact spurred a few natives



transform the former pile of scrap, before the faithfully reconstructed

train compositions.


Next stop

Engadin Skimarathon:

rolling along!

More than 12,000 cross-country skiers all requiring transport

on the same day: for the Rhaetian Railway as transport partner,

the Engadin Skimarathon is a logistical tour de force. But of course

the 42 kilometres also present a challenge for those taking part in

the race – including Samuel Rindlisbacher, Head of Controlling at

RhB. Contura "ran" the race with him.

Just time for him to enjoy one last cup of tea and a banana, change his


swing of the arms and a couple of stretches, then the skis get buckled on

and Samuel Rindlisbacher lines up next to hundreds of other participants.



start of the 45 th Engadin Skimarathon on this beautiful sunny morning in

Maloja really do feel as if they are about to conquer their very own piece

sportsmen and women are no more than tiny dots, barely visible on the

frozen surface of the lake.

Recipe for success: relaxation and pasta

just doing this for fun", he says. He wasn’t able to train as hard this year as

sportsman, however, he makes sure he eats mountains of pasta the eve-

now he enjoys the fact that there is no more queuing up for ski lifts and

no jostling for position on the slopes. Samuel Rindlisbacher is entered in


class are energetic but nevertheless relaxed; the ambition to traverse

the 42 kilometres from Maloja to S-chanf via Pontresina on cross-country

skis is palpable, and there’s a touch of excitement in the air, but the mood

in the starting area on this sunny winter morning seems pretty relaxed.

"The Engadin Skimarathon is always perfectly organised; there’s never any

chaos", according to Rindlisbacher.

and a drink stop

Samuel Rindlisbacher

makes the

marathon (almost)

look easy.


Samuel Rindlisbacher in

good shape at the halfway

A breather with Pippa Middleton

station after one and a half hours. Dozens of volunteers line the edges of

the course, handing out drinks to the thirsty participants. Music, party tents

Middleton has just whizzed past, the loudspeakers announce. Prince Wil-

rd position (out of 494) in her category.

Party mood in S-chanf


Maloja and S-chanf on cross-country skis in less than ninety min-


of skiers and spectators milling around the food and drink stands, bands

playing carnival music and massage tents.


Get on board and

immerse yourself: with

the RhB spa package –

Pure relaxation not just

for athletes. 553

Three questions to the Head of Production Region West

Patricia Demarmels coordinates the transport

for the Engadin Skimarathon in collaboration

with the event organisers.

How many RhB employees are

called out specially for the Engadin


Just over 50 employees who would not

normally be working put in a special shift

on race day. They are involved in shunting

activities, directing customers or in

forward to this event – it makes a nice

change from their normal working day.

How many additional trains does

the RhB make available to ensure this

major event runs smoothly?

In 2013, we operated 25 additional

trains on marathon day for participants

and spectators. And the scheduled trains

also make an additional stop at the specially

set-up 'S-chanf Marathon' station.

And does transporting

so many people always go smoothly?

On the day of the marathon, the RhB

conveyed more than 12,000 people –

that’s quite impressive. But

we’ve got the hang of it. And,

of course, we always have

emergency plans. This year

there was a problem with one

of the engines, but our passengers

didn’t notice this at

all. On a big occasion like this,

we usually run no more than

Patricia Demarmels,

one or two minutes behind

Head of Production


Region West at

Rhaetian Railway.


From the workshop

A local hero:

the sledge maker

from Sri Lanka


Sledging fun: Along the

famous track to pure

excitement on wooden

runners. 223

A Sri Lankan refugee now at home in Graubünden: carpenter Kavithas Jeyabalan


It’s a stable construction on two runners, made entirely of high

quality ash and freshly lubricated: the Schanfigg sledge – handmade

in the Kavi joinery in Peist. "Kavi" himself is personally committed

to preserving this traditional Swiss craft: Kavithas Jeyabalan,

who came to Switzerland in 1984 as a Tamil refugee. A true

life fairytale.

How on earth did he end up here? The question unavoidably comes up on

the train ride from Chur to Peist, which has been home to one-time Sri

Lankan refugee Kavithas Jeyabalan for almost 30 years now. Mountains

and deep gorges meet the eye. Here and there a small village, none with

more than 200 residents. Like Peist, 30 minutes from Arosa. A picturesque,

idyllic landscape: picture-postcard Switzerland, although seemingly in the

back of beyond.

so one day he climbed aboard the little red train in Chur, where he was

living in the asylum centre, and rode up to Arosa. He

"The Swiss appreciate found work at a local joinery, the agreed two months

good quality. When ultimately turning into ten whole years.

they buy something,

Raised in the workshop

they want it to last." Today, Kavi runs his own woodworking business and

Kavithas Jeyabalan


However, Kavi does not owe his success to the famous sledges,

he laughs. At least eight hours of manual labour and material costs of up

to 300 francs go into the making of a sledge. At a unit price of 400 to 500

more of a passion, a hobby rather than a business – Kavi actually makes



Swiss crafts-

sledges are

with no loose


inherited from his father, who also owned a woodworking/woodturning

business. As a child, Kavi grew up in the workshop, so it comes as no surprise

that he went on to study carpentry at technical college in Sri Lanka.


a few improvements.

Hand-made and built to last

Swiss ash: the wood is durable and barely warps when moist. The 22 indi-



explains in the local dialect. A mortise and tenon joint, as it is known in

the trade, involves sliding the longitudinal body slats through holes in the

horizontal cleats, or cross bars. This is what makes the sledge particularly

Even Eros Ramazotti also pay particular attention to the two runners: they are

fashioned into the right form as a single piece and only

owns a genuine

then split into two parts. This is to ensure that the two

Schanfigg sledge. runners are absolutely identical and will not bend out of

the ground, and only then is the stainless chromium steel applied to make



come from as far away as Bern and Basel, and even Eros Ramazotti is

quality work really is the best form of advertising.

Not just Swiss, but a local too


integration that is almost too good to be true. But a great deal of

thing to which I had to become accustomed. At one point I asked myself:

should I go back to Sri Lanka or stay here in Switzerland? Well, of course, I

had a job here. And then I met Vreni, who later became my wife. So I de-

the local language, so that he could communicate with people and integrate.

Word by word, he wrote down what he heard in German and Swiss


Perfect to the last detail: when

Kavi pays attention to high quality

at every step in the process.

Tamil now and again. But I mostly make a point of speaking German, even

It goes without saying that Kavi renovated the interior himself. His wife

claims that he is every bit as Swiss as the locals: hard working, punctual

and aware of quality – Kavi embodies all of these typical Swiss values.

Vreni and Kavi Jeyabalan are both members of the local folk dance group,

for which they dress in traditional attire. He became a

"It took two years Swiss citizen in the early nineties. However, the man from

before I was able

the start I went up to the people here and spoke with all

to communicate in of them. It didn't matter whether they were young or old.

the local dialect." I actually get on well with everyone in the village. And

Kavithas Jeyabalan my family has become like me: we enjoy having visitors or

inviting people round for a drink or a meal, often sponta-


has made the mountain village of Peist his second home. And what

about the sledges? They are going well as always – both metaphorically

and literally, in terms of sales and on the sledge run. And if Kavi has his

passed on the secrets of

this traditional craft to

his employees. But he is

content to hold onto the

reins for the time being:

for at least another 20





Rail network

Highlights of the Rhaetian Railway

























S u r s e l v










Albula viaducts and spiral tunnels






San Bernardino








Travel fun throughout

the canton. All aboard!


Flims Trin





St. Gallen

Landquart Ried





Chur Wiesental

Chur West



Ems Werk


2806 m






Piz Beverin

2998 m














P r





ä t t

Chur Stadt


St. Peter-Molinis



2806 m











i g a






Albula Tunnel


St. Moritz


Davos Laret

Davos Wolfgang

Davos Dorf

Davos Platz

Davos Frauenkirch

Davos Glaris

Davos Monstein

Davos Wiesen

Piz Ela

3339 m

Piz Nair

3057 m







Celerina Staz


Klosters Dorf

Klosters Platz

Vereina Tunnel

O b e r e n g a


d i n



La Punt Chamues-ch

Punt Muragl

Punt Muragl Staz



Bernina Suot

Piz Bernina

4049 m

Piz Palü

3905 m

Piz Linard

3411 m







U n





Muottas Muragl

2450 m



Bernina Diavolezza

Bernina Lagalb

Ospizio Bernina

Alp Grüm





t e r





e n g

Na tiona lpa rk


Li Curt

Le Prese







i n

a d









Val Camonica






Good to know

Green, red, orange: RhB signals and signs

Have you ever wondered what our railway signals with their different-coloured

lights and strange signs mean? Everyone knows

that you need a highway code for road traffic. The same applies

to railways: train drivers and railway workers need a set of rules

to help them do their job properly.

How fast? What do the lights say?



The train driver must react correctly to

the distant signal in order to observe

the rules when he reaches the main

signal – for example, by driving at the

prescribed speed. So open your eyes!

Here is a small selection of signals.

Distance signal Main signal

Stop at the main signal

The driver will have been warned

in good time by the two orange

lights of the distant signal that the

main signal indicates "stop" by

means of a red light.

Speed signs

Distance signal

Reduced speed

This distant signal shows that

after the next starting signal

the maximum speed restriction

indicated here will apply.

Starting signal

Reduced speed

The speed restriction applies

after this signal.

End signal

Reduced speed

The speed restriction no longer

applies after this signal –

but only after the very end of

the train has passed the signal.


The green light indicates that

the maximum speed permitted

in the route table applies.

Drive at a speed of 30 km/h

These two signals warn the driver

and tell him that on the following

stretch of track he may not drive

faster than 30 km/h.

Drive at a speed of 45 km/h

A few more green lights, placed

another signal: here, the distant

signal warns the driver that the

maximum permitted speed will be

45 km/h after the next main signal.

Footplate rides: Get to

know the UNESCO World

only otherwise experienced

by the driver. 256



How well do you know the RhB?

This little animal scurries from tree to

tree, nibbles a hazelnut, then resumes its

climb. What creature of the forest could

this be? The dotted picture below gives

you a clue. Our tip: you’ll see lots of these

furry animals on the hiking trail of the

same name in Arosa …

Quiz question:

How many metres in altitude does the

Arosa Line of the RhB climb on its way

from Chur to Arosa in just one hour?

a) 650 metres b) 880 metres

c) 735 metres d) 1,000 metres


73 74













62 58



59 57





75 78





















































36 32














113 112


20 21

114 110


22 23

111 24

106 109 25






Pure nature: Visit


the hiking trail


named after me


in Arosa. 552

We are giving away two 2 nd class return train tickets from your nearest station to Arosa.

Send your answer marked 'wettbewerb' (competition) to or send a postcard to:

Rhätische Bahn, Marketing Kommunikation & E-Business, Bahnhofstrasse 25, 7002 Chur.

writing. Prizes will not be paid out in cash. No correspondence will be entered into in connection with the competition and


For your diary

Our events at a glance

125 years of the Rhaetian Railway

10 May 2014

The RhB has been providing fantastic

railway experiences on its mountain lines

since 1889 – a cause for celebration!


100 years Chur – Arosa

13 / 14 December 2014

The RhB celebrates the centenary

of the Chur – Arosa line: a festive winter

weekend with numerous surprises.


Clà Ferrovia – the children’s guide

19 / 20 October 2013 and

15 and 20 / 21 December 2013

Clà Ferrovia will guide you to adventures

full of colour and light.

Swiss National Park centenary

1 August 2014

Straight to the National Park Zernez

and a host of centenary events

with the RhB. 1039



Aus Berufung

UNESCO Welterbe RhB



er Gleise

Via Albulala / Ber


grüsst st Heidi

06.02.13 15:02

RhB to hand

Brochures and tourist maps

Pick them up at any RhB station or download them

Bernina Express – From glaciers to palms

Experience one of the most spectacular ways to cross the

Alps: the Albula and Bernina lines of the Rhaetian Railway.

The panoramic journey on the Bernina Express past the

glaciers and down to the palm trees is one of the main


The slowest expre s train in the world

Glacier Express – The slowest express train in the world

Ride the rails up into the clouds, through untouched

alpine landscapes, over roaring mountain streams and

past rugged walls of rock. The panoramic journey on the

Glacier Express through the Swiss Alps is one to remem-


Herbst Winter 2013 / 14


Das Magazin der Rhätischen Bahn

Bündner Bräuche

rund ums Jahr

Frühling / Sommer 2013


Das Magazin der Rhätischen Bahn

Aus Berufung

Ein Mann mit Plan:

der Fahrplaner

Herr der Lüfte

und der Gleise

Glacier Expre s

Unterwegs aufd


Via Albula / Bernina

Kleine grosse Welt

im Glacier Express


grüsst Heidi


Sommer 2012

UNESCO Welterbe RhB



The magazine of the Rhaetian Railway

features inspiring and exciting stories

about the RhB. Also available online

and as an iPad app in the iTunes Store.

Tourist maps

Our popular adventure maps are the

ideal guide to the most attractive

routes on the RhB railway network.



Souvenirs for all ages

Discover our extensive range of gift items and souvenirs

Railway Adventure Trail Albula

Enjoy nature at its best on the eightkilometre-long

Railway Adventure Trail Albula

from Preda to Filisur. Find all in formation in

the accompanying guidebook.

iPhone case from stone pine wood

The new RhB iPhone case made from

genuine Swiss stone pine exudes

the smell of the Engadin.

Viaduct jigsaw puzzle

Thanks to this puzzle you can admire a

true landmark of the RhB network at home:

the 1,000-piece jigsaw shows the

Glacier Express crossing the famous

Landwasser Viaduct near Filisur.

The RhB credit and prepaid card:

The RhB credit and prepaid card lets railway enthu-


of cashless payment. Choose your favourite

RhB card: Info on the

new credit and prepaid

card is available

at: 2534


Rhaetian Railway Inc

Bahnhofstrasse 25

CH-7002 Chur

Tel +41 (0)81 288 65 65

Fax +41 (0)81 288 61 05

The RhB online

News, competitions and discussion

forums with us and other RhB fans.

views behind the scenes.

Pictures and impressions from our

fascinating world of railway experiences.

and excursion tips.

Tickets round the clock?

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