Landwasser Viaduct, Switzerland

You can understand why trains are held in such great affection by the Swiss. It's absolute heaven for trainspotters, who take particular pleasure in the superlative time-keeping of Swiss trains. No wrong type of snow or leaves on the line here, and never a preceding slow train to hold you up.

The Landwasser Viaduct is a single track six-arched curved limestone railway viaduct. It spans the Landwasser River between Schmitten and Filisur, in the Canton of Graubünden, Switzerland.

Landwasser Viaduct was opened in 1904. Astonishingly, it took just 14 months to construct. It stands 130ft high and 426ft long and comprises six arches of dark limestone. The single track runs in a line shaped like a quarter-circle with a 324ft radius before plunging into an opening in a huge rock face and entering a 700ft long tunnel.

The details of its construction are extraordinary. There was no large scaffolding in the traditional manner. A metal tower was built within three taller piers, each equipped with a bridge crane. The towers rose as construction proceeded upwards, until the arches could be built by putting up wooden scaffolding on them. The first and last arches are anchored by strong abutments to the rock face on either side of the gorge.


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