Proposed Route of the Bergeller Bahn
David Broomfield wrote a very comprehensive article in the Swiss Railways Society quarterly magazine, Swiss Express, for March 1993 on the history and proposed route of the Bergeller Bahn, with his permission, this page is an abridged version of that article.
The early history of the Bergeller Bahn is complex and confused, largely because of the number of promoters and the subsequent loss of plans and papers. The first idea was the result of a treaty signed by Switzerland with Germany and Italy permitting the construction of a transit route through the Gotthard. Before this Graubűnden had, since Roman times, been a favourite route between north and south and the local population did not want to lose the benefits this brought them. Unfortunately by the time they woke up to the threat the Gotthard route was going ahead. Furthermore it took 25 years to resolve the in-
Many early proposals for railways in Graubűnden envisaged a through route to Italy via the Maloja Pass, reached after crossing the centre of the Canton by way of the Sertig, Scaletta or Albula passes. A concession was granted by the Federal Government to Zschokke & Cie. Of Aarau for a narrow gauge route Chur -
By 1897 this concession had still not been exploited and it was given to the Landquart -
Alternative Routes for the Maloja Pass
The Maloja Pass today
The Route Described:
As at Scuol the exit track from St. Moritz was actually laid and crosses Via Serlas by a bridge before ending on a short embankment and acting as a head shunt. The line would then have entered a 1.6 Km tunnel before arriving at St. Moritz Bad. Keeping to the valley floor with beautiful views of the Upper Engadine it would have skirted the north side of Lake Champfer before reaching Silvaplana. It would have continued along the north shore of Lake Silvaplana and then swung southwards across the valley between the lakes, leaving the main road and crossing the Inn by a substantial iron bridge to arrive at Sils -
After Casaccia the river, which has now become the Maira, is crossed by a large bridge to allow the line to keep to the valley floor although many tunnels and bridges were still needed nearer to Vicosoprano. An alternative route map shows the line clinging to the western slopes of the valley. After Vicosoprano the Maira is crossed four times and another spiral tunnel is encountered before reaching Promotogno-
This assistance was chanelled into the Disentis and Scuol lines and the Bergell line was deferred. A change of heart came over the people who, on 10th November 1912, voted a subsidy of Sfr 700,000 and this enabled the RhB to send engineers into the valley to evaluate the possibilities. Italy and Austria, seeing themselves at the opposite ends of a through route, Chiavenna to Landeck were very interested in the proposals, ostensibly for commercial reasons but more realistically for military purposes. It would have enabled them to support each other in the event of war. For similar reasons the Swiss military were not in favour of the proposals. This was the situation when war broke out and all work on the Bergeller Bahn was stopped.
The route was never finalised though some details of the project are available albeit with contradictions. Pre-
After the war ended Italy and Austria showed no more interest in the line but the local communities, now aware of the railway and the tourists it would bring, were very keen to contribute. But it was too late, despite several attempts to revive the project, the RhB shared in the world’s economic crises and in 1936 the RhB no-
Gradient profile of an early scheme. This was part of the Scalettabahn and had a maximum gradient of 4.5%
Page updated 13th August 2018 © www.maloja.co.uk 2019
The head shunt at St. Moritz station -