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A train driver on the water and a captain on rails

Luca Raselli works as a train driver for RhB and in his spare time as a captain on the “Sassalbo” on Lake Poschiavo. He explains the parallels between working as a train driver and as a captain.

Tanja Thaler, Communications expert, 27. August 2021

1 How long have you been a train driver for RhB?

I trained as a train driver between 2000 and 2001 and have been constantly travelling the RhB network ever since.

Luca Raselli in the driver's cab

2 How long have you been working as a captain on the Sassalbo?

After taking the exams and gaining experience, I have been captaining the MS Sassalbo since 2016.

Luca Raselli as a captain

3 What connects you to Valposchiavo?

Valposchiavo is my home. This is where I grew up and where I have my roots. My work forced me to live away from Valposchiavo for ten years. It was a wonderful and eventful time, but I was pleased to be able to return home again. 

4 Do you work part time at RhB so that you can work as a captain in your spare time, or is this compatible with a full-time workload?

My assignment as captain is on a voluntary basis, which means it is a position without any remuneration. But that also means that I don’t have obligations and can remain very flexible both for myself and for the ship association. I work full time for RhB and I do the boat trips in my spare time. I have to observe and adhere to the Swiss Working Hours Act and have good organisational skills. Then things work out quite well and the two can be reconciled.

5 Why are you captain of the Sassalbo?

There are several reasons. Years ago, I often went fishing on Lake Poschiavo with my small rowing boat. It was really nice and relaxing because I enjoyed the calm of the water, the music of the waves and had a feeling of freedom.
Later I heard about the  “Sassalbo” and recalled those wonderful memories. This was a decisive factor for me and also the main reason why I wanted to be captain.  
I also want to do something good for Valposchiavo and give something back. This allows me to increase the value of Lake Poschiavo and offer locals and tourists something new and exciting. And that’s something important for me, too. 


Luca Raselli loves the calm of the water, the music of the waves, the feeling of freedom on the "Sassalbo".

6 What are the similarities between working as a train driver and as a captain?

I guess there are three main things the two jobs have in common: the first is the responsibility you bear. The second involves working in close contact with nature and the wonderful landscape which I always have around me as a train driver on the Bernina Line and as a captain on Lake Poschiavo. The third thing they have in common is that I transport people who are out and about in their free time and want to experience something new.

7 What is the biggest difference between being a train driver and a captain?

The differences are not that great. But as a captain, it’s an advantage if you can swim (laughs).

8 Which work is technically more demanding? The work of a train driver or a captain?

Both tasks differ in complexity. But they both share a common goal: to safely get passengers to their desired train station or port. 

9 Is there anything exciting you have experienced with passengers on the “Sassalbo”?

Every trip on the “Sassalbo” with passengers brings with it an exciting story. I had a fun trip with our colleagues from Poschiavo and Tirano stations, with lots of Italian charm and a great atmosphere. Certainly a trip that is particularly memorable. 

10 What is your favourite excursion destination on the RhB network? Do you have an insider tip?

For me, the trip itself is the best day trip destination on RhB. If you are travelling on the Bernina Line, I would of course recommend a stopover in Le Prese and a cruise on beautiful Lake Poschiavo.

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