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Home » Podcast » Bernina Red Train: how to get there and what to see. Let the podcast tell you about it E-VAI!

Known throughout the world, the "Bernina Train" connects the Italian terminus, Tirano, to the renowned Swiss resort in the Engadine, St.Moritz. The Little Red Train, so nicknamed due to the flaming color of its carriages, is a jewel that belongs to the Rhaetian Railway, and since 2008 it has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along a breathtaking route, the highest train in Europe, also known as the Bernina Express, climbs the Alps without the use of a rack.

Do you want to be told and have a laugh with the adventures of Francesca and Veronica? Listen to the episode on the podcast E-VAI!

Bernina Red Train: how to get there

How to get there, with E-VAI, it's very easy: just rent a car E-VAI in one of the over 150 stations in Lombardy, the electric charging will be complete and included in the price.

Once you jump aboard E-VAI, you need to reach Lecco station, where E-VAI has a dedicated car park with electric column in Piazza Stazione, 2.
From there, you can take the train towards Tirano, starting point of the fantastic itinerary of the Bernina Red Train. And if you are a Trenord subscriber, you can take advantage of the agreement with E-VAI which includes €40 credit and discounted rates!

Bernina Red Train: history

The route of the Bernina Red Train is so beautiful that in 2008 it was included among the UNESCO World Heritage sites, but where did it come from?

It all began in the early 900s, when a group of engineers had an idea: to connect the entire Alpine area, both to be able to move goods better (which until then suffered far too many delays due to the weather in the winter months) , but above all to build a real tourist facility that could connect from Italy to Switzerland. A beautiful railway line would have been the best solution ever, but to attract tourist demand something more attractive had to be created.

The Tirano St Moritz route was approved by the central government on 2 March 1906 and only 4 years later, on 5 July 1910, all 61 km of tracks were opened.

For the tourist turning point we had to wait until the 2000s, when new cabins designed by Pininfarina were added: 78 total seats, 34 in first class and 44 in second class.

And so it was that in 2008 the world became aware of the disarming beauty, thanks to its inclusion among the UNESCO World Heritage sites.…

The train leaves from Tirano and arrives in St. Moritz, and there are a dozen stops where it is possible to get off the train to visit the place, and then get back on the express ("the slowest in Europe") always with the same ticket.

Bernina Red Train: Campolongo stop

The first stop you encounter as soon as you leave Tirano is Campocologno, a territory that has always been disputed between the Grisons and Tirano, but which in 1521 was definitively annexed to the former.

Electricity has made the fortune of this place, in fact there is a majestic power plant, which has been up and running since 1907. The local economy was flourishing from the beginning, but also left room for smuggling: this place was located in such a strategic point that it allowedeva to exchange goods, unaware of prying eyes, between Italy and Switzerland.

Bernina Red Train: Campascio, Brusio, Le Prese

Immediately after Campocologno, we continue with a triptych in one breath: Campascio, Brusio and Le Prese.

So we start from Campascio, here too the theme of smuggling returns; in fact these border lands were an ideal place for the cultivation of tobacco which have now been converted into fruit and berry plants: apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries and currants from the area. Fresh fruit and jams have now reached such popularity that they are now a true local brand called "100% Valposchiavo".

Getting back on the train, you can see one of the most iconic views of the entire journey: Brusio is one of the obligatory stops for those who love photos. A helical viaduct, which has now become the symbol of the little red train, which extends over 9 concentric spans.

In reality, this 360° turn was the only way to help the train climb 20 meters, as it has no rack, it is necessary to maintain a not excessive slope.

Subsequently you come to the Le Prese stop, which is characterized by its beautiful lake around which you can take an incredible relaxing walk and see two mountains, the first which soars upwards, the second which rests, horizontally, on the profile of the waterfall.

Bernina Red Train: Cavaglià

The next stop is Cavaglià, where it is really difficult to feel alone: ​​here you are always in the company of deer, marmots and roe deer who occasionally stop to look at those strange animals that are crouched and motionless inside this gigantic "red snake".

Cavaglià station is truly iconic: a splendid and magical sloping roof that from afar can remind you of a camping tent, born in 1912 as a hotel and which has now become one of the symbols of the Rhaetian railway.

10 minutes from the stop, if you walk along the sides of the railway, you find yourself vis-a-vis a geological park created in the image and likeness of the glacier which has not been seen for 11 thousand years now. The force of the ice over millennia has managed to erode the ground to create these holes which can reach up to 15 meters deep. It is a free walking route, with many panels that tell the story and geology.

Bernina Red Train: Alp Grum

Once back on the train, you travel about 1800 meters of altitude difference shoulder to shoulder with bridges and tunnels, with some glimpses between valleys and the majestic Piz Palù, unmistakable with the three crests that descend towards the valley. This leads to the Alp Grum station, which symbolizes the twinning between the red train and the Hakone-Tozan in Japan, with its esoteric wooden plaque with Japanese ideograms

At the station, you cannot miss a particular sign on the facade. In fact, you will see a plaque with Japanese ideograms, which symbolizes the historic twinning between the red Bernina train and the Japanese Hakone-Tozan, the twin of our train which is located south of Tokyo.

Bernina Red Train: Bernina Hospice

Once you reach the highest point of the entire route, you will find the Bernina Hospice.

In this station the world stops before the enchantment of these two lakes that keep each other company at a safe distance: the white lake and the black lake.

As close as they are different, but still in harmony, they are very close, but completely opposite.

The white lake has a milky colour, because its waters come directly from the glacier, which, leaving behind sand and debris, gives the lake this particular colour. It reveals serenity, tranquility and justice, capable of responding to the evil of the world with love.

The other one, the black lake, has a much more intense, more lively, dominant color. Its waters come from small streams, which in the right season, allow a glimpse of the trout which, little by little, enjoy the warmth of the sun.

Near the black lake there is another small lake: these two, decidedly smaller than the white one, are a fixed stop for "adrenaline hunters", that is, those who seek adrenaline and fun in winter. In fact, many skiers and snowboarders, harnessed with wires and kites, let themselves be carried by the wind along the descent.

Bernina Red Train: Lablab and Morteratsch

Bernina Lagalb is the stop for the classic skier. Called "the queen of the ski mountains", she was one of the protagonists in one of the films that best expresses the poetry of the mountains "Five Days of a Summer".

It takes a few minutes from the stop to reach 3000 meters, and here the view is breathtaking, because its majesty the Bernina rises.

The last stop before St. Moritz is the Morteratsch.

From here you can enjoy the wonderful embrace of the mountains over the entire valley: Piz Bellavista, Crast' Agüzza, Piz Dupòche and finally, imperious in its altitude solitude, Piz Bernina with its 4000 metres.

Together with these beautiful peaks there is the Morteratsch glacier which in 1850 made Johann Coaz, a great mountaineer, famous, making him pass between its inlets and allowing him to reach the top of the Bernina first.

Once you reach the stop you find yourself in front of a sculpture, called "the tears of the glacier": this begins an enchanting walk which over the course of an hour will lead up to 2010 meters above sea level, to the foot of the glacier.

The walk is dotted with stalks that tell the inglorious history of the glacier, from 1850 to today. In fact, as we proceed we find these panels that tell of his retreat over the centuries. Each stele symbolizes measurements of the extent of each glacier.

Bernina Red Train: St. Moritz

St Moritz is a place as beautiful as it is particular, it seems like entering another era and makes you wonder if the train is actually a time machine.

The birth of St Moritz is surrounded by a history that begins in the mid-800th century.

It is 1864, and in the same year in which the Red Cross was founded in Geneva, a hotelier called Johannes Badrutt, owner of the Kulm hotel in the Engadine, was hosting English nobles, to whom he promised: "my lords, look at the real fun is here in the Engadine, I assure you that if next year you return here to the valley, you will enjoy the days in short sleeves on my beautiful terrace, you will do so much of that sport that you will have it up to your hair, and you will fall in love with these as never before wonderful Alps... if this were not the case, I will pay for your trip and accommodation out of my own pocket."

We all know the end of the story, St. Moritz will shortly become one of the main winter tourist destinations in the whole of Europe, welcoming the new Alpine tourism market, so much so that it hosted the Winter Olympic Games twice in 1928 and 1948, and 35 others.

With the Bernina you arrive directly at St Moritz station, at the foot of the centre, which overlooks, thanks to a beautiful terrace, the entire lake which compares the town, with its monuments, and this interminable mountain.

Walking through the streets of the pedestrian centre, you immediately notice the glittering windows of luxury brands on both sides of the street, surrounded in the background by the beautiful leaning tower.

Instead, by wearing trekking boots and walking towards the salastrains hotel, following the signs for Corviglia, it will be possible to get to the Chantarella cable car: here you find the city at your feet and the enchanting view of the lake. And from here you can decide which of the many routes to take, without missing out on a visit to the famous Heidi's cabin.

Once the walk is over and before setting off again, it's time to treat yourself to a sweet treat: in the Hanselmann restaurant you can taste "Engadiner Nusstorte", the classic and famous local cake, which has been made and served since 1894.

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