History

Providing a fascinatingly different way to travel since 1889

The Rhaetian Railway has been part of the Swiss canton of Graubünden since 1889. It is now impossible to imagine this region – one of the most beautiful in Switzerland – without its world-famous railway. Harmoniously embedded in the natural landscape, the rail lines and engineering structures all add to the charm of the Swiss canton of Graubünden.

In 1888, railway pioneers from the Graubünden area brought to fruition their idea of building a mountain railway. Back then, thanks to the initiative of Dutchman Willem-Jan Holsboer, they founded the Schmalspurbahn Landquart–Davos AG, a narrow-gauge railway company. The ground-breaking ceremony took place that same year, and the Landquart – Klosters railway line opened in 1889. The first steam trains began plying the route from Landquart to Davos in 1890. Lines to St. Moritz, Disentis and Scuol-Tarasp followed later. The mergers with the Arosa and Bernina railway companies expanded the Rhaetian Railway's network of lines.

A mere quarter of a century later, the entire Rhaetian Railway rail network was nearing completion. In 1999 the Vereina Tunnel was opened as the last extension to the network. While Rhaetian Railway has continued to develop, it has remained true to the spirit of those early years in one thing: it links the most beautiful locations in the mountain regions through fascinating railway lines. In 2008, UNESCO added the Albula and Bernina lines to its World Heritage List.

Timeline

1889 The Landquart-Davos Smalspurbahn (LD Narrow-Gauge Railway Company) opens the Landquart – Klosters line
1890 Klosters – Davos line opens
1895 LD changes its name to Rhaetian Railway
1896 Landquart – Thusis line opens
1903 Reichenau – Ilanz line opens
1904 Thusis – St. Moritz line opens
1907 Bellinzona – Mesocco line opens
1908 Samedan – Pontresina line opens
1909 Davos – Filisur line opens
1910 St. Moritz – Tirano line opens (Berninabahn Railway Company)
1912 The first electric engine is procured
1912 Ilanz – Disentis/Mustér line opens
1913 Bever – Scuol-Tarasp line opens
1914 Chur – Arosa line opens (Chur-Arosa Bahn Railway Company)
1922 Electrification of the RhB is completed
1930 Inaugural run of the Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt
1942 RhB merges with the Chur-Arosa Bahn Railway Company
1942 RhB merges with the Bellinzona-Mesocco Bahn Railway Company
1943 RhB merges with the Berninabahn Railway Company
1973 Inauguration of the Bernina Express
1979 Twinning agreement with Hakone Tozan Railway (Japan)
1982 Furka Base Tunnel opens (year-round Glacier Express service)
1989 RhB celebrates its centenary. To mark the occasion, the RhB adopts a new corporate image and repaints its trains in a new red livery
1997 The electrified Chur – Arosa line is converted from 2,400V DC to 1,100V AC
1999 Klosters – Lavin/Susch line opens (Vereina Tunnel with car transporter) - the first extension to the network since 1914
2003 Bellinzona – Mesocco line closes
2008 The Albula and Bernina Lines are added to the UNESCO World Heritage List