In July 2008 the UNESCO decorated the Albula- and Bernina railway lines as a UNESCO World Heritage. With this the UNESCO values the 122 km long track with the numerous railway engineering structures and the unique route of line. Spectacular railway architecture, deep canyons, cool glaciers and Mediterranean climate: the interaction between railway, landscape and human beings makes this decorated route unique.
The Albula line was finished in 1904. Unlike the Bernina line it was constructed as a classic mountain railway for operation with steam engines which can be used in a universal way and should therefore be efficient. Its line routeing and its engineering structures made of local quarry stone are the highlight of the classic period of railway construction.
Known experts were called for the construction who built the line routeing and all constructions according to standards which corresponded to the most progressive practice of mountain railway construction. Already at the time of its construction the Albula track was seen as a masterpiece. The Landwasser Viaduct as well as the helical tunnels at the Albula Valley are the technical masterpieces of engineering on the northern part of the Alps.
The Bernina railway line was completed in 1910. The choice of layout was largely motivated to highlight the attractions of the spectacular mountainscape for tourism. The railway was an innovative adaptation of an electric overland railway with an exceptionally skilful layout in a high alpine landscape. It immediately became the model for many projects throughout the Alps and the recognised standard for several railways that were built later.
Today the Bernina railway is unique all over the world: it is the highest altitude transalpine railway and one of the steepest adhesion railways in the world. The transition of the Bernina Pass (2253 m) and of the circular viaduct of Brusio are the technical masterpieces of engineering on the southern part of the Alps.
The hiking trail along the UNESCO World Heritage section of the Rhaetian Railway runs as near as possible to the Albula and Bernina railway line, regularly affording enchanting open views of an over 100-year-old total artwork in stunning Alpine scenery.