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Alp Grüm: a remote escape

Known for its magnificent view of the Valposchiavo: Alp Grüm – a combination of railway station, restaurant and hotel. But how is it that this former Alpine meadow has become a famous railway station?

Erika Suter, Editor, 09. November 2019

How tranquil must it have been up here, how untouched the nature at that time, over a century ago, before the railway line from the Bernina down into Valposchiavo even existed. In those days, at an altitude of just over 2,000 metres, the Alpine meadow was only accessible by foot via a bridle path. Even today, the natural beauty of the landscape surrounding the Alp Grüm almost takes your breath away: your gaze wanders across debris flows down to the turquoise water of the glacial lake of Alp Palü, on to the glacial mills hidden in the larch forests, far out into the distance to the Bergamo Alps. The tracks of the Bernina Line have adorned the landscape since 1910, winding their way through steep hairpin bends down to Poschiavo and on to Tirano.

The track between Ospizio Bernina and Poschiavo was opened on 5 July 1910 by the Bernina-Bahngesellschaft (BB). The BB was established five years prior to this with the aim of connecting St. Moritz and Tirano via the Bernina Pass. From 1908 onwards, various sections of the track were gradually opened; the opening of the most difficult section – from Ospizio Bernina to Poschiavo – in early 1910 ultimately marked the completion of the entire line. Back then, Alp Grüm only had a small station building, a simple slate-clad wooden construction that doubled as a post office, the “Post-Ablage Alp Grüm”. Two larger wooden constructions followed, which served as a restaurant. Postcards from this era show elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen sitting on the terrace at tables covered in white cloths. Then, in the summer of 1923, a striking stone house was quickly built, turning the little station building into a magnificent railway station – whose facade is virtually the same to this day. Yet despite the restaurant, the introduction of dining cars and package deals for tourists, the little Bernina-Bahngesellschaft landed in financial difficulties and was ultimately taken over by Rhaetian Railway in 1943 – in the middle of the Second World War.

The Alp Grüm has retained some of its idyllic remoteness: it is accessible all year round only by train and in summer by bridle path, which is closed to motorised traffic. The restaurant and hotel that define the landscape meet all current requirements after being fully renovated inside in 2013. Dormitories and communal showers have given way to the Alpine charm of oak cladding and en-suite bathrooms, making Alp Grüm a popular escape for day trippers and holidaymakers alike.

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