Railway Pages Index


Part 4:
Interlaken - Zurich - Chur - Tirano - Chur - Arosa - Zurich

After the tour, we covered Interlaken - Zurich - Chur - Tirano - Chur - Arosa - Zurich in a leisurely 4 day self guided excursion before flying home. 

The tour itself was extremely well managed by John Rogers and his wife at LGB Tours. Their connstant guidance each day was very courtious and helpful. They also arranged all the details of our self-guided extension, which made the finale to our trip completely trouble free.


We left Interlaken on the ICE via Bern to Zurich , said good bye to the tour group and continued on to Chur. It was a Saturday and the trains were nearly empty - we essentially had a private car for the Zurich to Chur leg of the journey. Chur is the oldest city in Switzerland, dating back at least 1000 years. We stayed at the Post Hotel (now managed by Comfort Inns), much modernized since my previous stay 14 years earlier. The railway station was also new and just a short walk from the hotel.



The Bernina Express is still the best train ride in Switzerland and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Glaciers, lakes, spiral tunnels and viaducts, all leading to semi-tropical vineyards in Italy. Tirano (not to be confused with Torino farther south) is a border town, probably as ancient as Chur, and is the connection point to the Italian State Railway.

Grades of up to 7% are handled without rack and pinion traction, and the line handles considerable freight as well as the better known tourist traffic.









The Bernina is easy to see from inside the panorama cars.

The Bernina arrives at noon and leaves again at 1 PM, so we stayed overnight at Hotel Bernina to give us time to explore the old city and cathedrals. Compared to the gleam and polish of the Swiss counterparts, the Italian trains looked beaten-up and grubby.






The Italian trains are not as pretty as the Swiss.



Work trains and log buggies mingle with the Bernina at Tirano Station.

This is a beautiful trip to a beautiful lakeside town - if I had the money, this would be my retirement home. 
The Chur-Arosa railway was founded in 1889 as an independent company (ChA) and its network had always been linked to the main network of the RhB in Chur. This link enables the exchange of passenger coaches and freight cars. The merger with the RhB was the beginning of the modernization of the ChA railway. 

Leaving Chur, the route follows the streets of the upper part of town to gain access to the Plessur River valley. There are 41 bridges and 21 tunnels on the  25 Km of the meter gauge line.




Slow and easy is the the only way to move in Arosa

See also  Part 1   Part 2   Part 3