|Subject: Re: Little Red Train to Graubunden|
Hi Ric Bobise and anyone else interested in the Little Red Train,
Hope you don't mind my sticking my nose in, but I have done the Tirano-St. Moritz-Chur trip in this magic part of Switzerland, not sure if it was the Bernina Express as such, but it was a fascinating trip, lasting most of the day, for which reason I would not call it an express.
Tirano is the end station of an Italian FS rail out of Milan Centrale, and this is already a pretty journey through sub-alpine valleys along the Swiss/Italian border. At Tirano, one has to exit the FS train, walk 20 metres to a parallel station on the Swiss system, taking a diversion into this pretty border village if you have the time.
This little train has part goods-wagons, part passenger, all being very short carriages due to the ticght curves. Neat and clean, but virtually no services as I recall.
Within minutes the train does a full-circle loop (to gain height) on a stone viaduct, and from then on it crawls steadily up the mountain, with fabulous views of the valleys with little villages at each stop, real postcard stuff. Local (in real leder-hosen) got on and off along the way, occasionally they would offload a wagon of rail sleepers into a siding, and after two (I think) more full-circle loops in tunnels into the mountainside, we flattened out - relatively - for the last few kms into St Moritz, where several lines converge.
We chose to continue to Chur (also called Coir) for the night another pretty original walled town, though surrounded by modern expansion. This is on a main line, fast trains to Zurich etc.
However, the line South to Zurmatt is a private line, not covered by Eurail, though it is worth the money, with cog-rail part of the way due to the fantastic alpine terrain.
I suspect this trip is best UPhill from Tirano, not the down trip, as the leasurely pace is very relaxing, whereas I think I would be concerned for the braking abilities of the triain going down, not to mention the presumed faster trip.
Did I mention that I highly recommend this trip ????
Paul, in not-so-sunny Sydney