Right to the top of the RhB network
When I heard about the “Alp Grüm Experience train”, I immediately thought about my family of rail enthusiasts. So I quickly posted the link in our family WhatsApp chat and asked: “Anyone interested?”. Naturally, they all wanted to come along.
I didn’t really know anything about the “Alp Grüm Experience train” until then. Apart from the fact that it is the yellow Bernina Line. No problem, I thought. I’ll find out about it when we take the trip. But my father and brother in particular, both train guards for SBB, were very excited about this new offer. I think they are sometimes a little envious that RhB repeatedly manages to organise trips with historical rolling stock.
We planned our day trip for 22 July 2020 and set off at 7:58 am from Chur to Samedan. Of course it was a little strange having to wear masks. Since I don't have to commute to work, it was the first time that I had had to wear a mask for any length of time. It was not pleasant at first – but you get used to it pretty quickly and after about half an hour, I had already forgotten that I was wearing a mask. We changed trains in Samedan as we travelled on towards Pontresina and up to Alp Grüm to Primo Semadeni’s restaurant. What a breathtaking view! It was warm enough to have lunch on the terrace.
Shortly before 12:30 pm we boarded the “Alp Grüm Experience train” to head back to Pontresina. The yellow Bernina Line was a somewhat unfamiliar sight at Alp Grüm station. The two railcars of the first generation were built between 1908 and 1911 and ran almost daily on the Bernina Line for a hundred years. The train guard welcomed us and we showed him our tickets. Since no special ticket is required for the “Alp Grüm Experience train”, he was very satisfied with the various tickets we had: GA travelcards and the Allegra 1-day travel pass.
And then we set off. Fantastic! I thought we would be travelling up to Ospizio Bernina at a gentle pace, but I was wrong. The old Bernina Line quickly took us on to Lago Bianco. We wobbled back and forth on the wooden benches in 2nd class, but soon we were standing at the open windows anyway because we didn't want to miss any of the beautiful landscape. Passing by the beautiful Lago Bianco, the trip downhill was just as fast. There were lots of hikers on the Bernina Pass who waved to us. They probably found the yellow train exciting, too. We waved back at them and felt like visiting royalty.
We had long forgotten that we were wearing masks. The trip on the Montebello Curve with a view of the Morteratsch Glacier was absolutely fantastic. We couldn't take our eyes off what was outside the windows until we arrived back in Pontresina. That was where our yellow trip ended and the “Alp Grüm Experience train” was moved off to get ready for its next trip.
After a tasty cup of coffee in Pontresina, we headed back to Chur “in red”. Since I had taken a few photos and videos of the ride on the Bernina Line, I really wanted to share them with our Instagram community and created a few stories for the Rhaetian Railway Instagram channel. We reached Chur again in the evening, rather tired from the many impressions, but feeling very positively surprised by this day trip.