1989 was a milestone for the Swiss narrow gauge Rhatische Bahn which celebrated its 100th birthday. From a moment in 1872 when Dutchman, Willem Jan Holsboer conceived the idea of a branch line from Landquart to Davos, the RhB has grown to a network of 375 kilometres through some of the wildest mountains in Switzerland. There are 115 tunnels and snow galleries covering its metre gauge tracks and 485 bridges, many of which soar across deep Alpine ravines.
The railway's bright red trains are a favourite of travellers and railway enthusiasts. Many of its passenger trains are legendary, particularly the Glacier, Bernina and Engadine expresses. The railway's ancient crocodile locomotives are now rather rare but they feature heavily in this one hour documentary as does the railway's oldest steam locomotive, Number One, which has returned to the line where it began service over a century ago.
This programme visits the main three celebrations in 1989; the opening ceremony in Chur with visiting standard gauge trains from Switzerland and Germany including the TEE Gotthardo and ICE, the festival of transport in the Prattigau and the event between Poschiavo and Tirano. The famous Italian Pendolino shuttled in and out of Tirano connecting with the Bernina line's 'Asnin' at the latter event.
The programme also takes a look at virtually the whole of the railway and its current operations, especially the world renowned Albula and Bernina lines. This is a programme not to be missed by fans of the marvellous Rhatische Bahn.
A full commentary is given by Martin Oldfield.