Customised transport solutions of the RhB’s goods railway

Customised transport solutions of the RhB’s goods railway -

To guarantee the transfers between the two construction sites but also the timely delivery of the necessary materials and goods from the external partner to the construction site the RhB has developed three customised transport solutions.

Most inward and outward transport of site materials is carried out by train. This is done mainly in order to limit the impact of site traffic on the local towns of Bergün and Bever. Local road conditions provide another motive for opting to transport by train, as abundant curves and limits on the size and weight of loads make it difficult for road vehicles to access a building site in the middle of the mountains. The region›s narrow tunnels and viaducts also tend to obstruct access. But transport by train brings other restrictions of its own, as the maximum load capacities of the available rolling stock and the headroom of the tunnels along the Albula Line limit the size of deliveries of construction material.

Albula-Sprinter: Transfers between Preda and Spinas
During initial building of the tunnel structure, a shuttle train will circulate up to eight times daily between Preda and Spinas. This train transports excavated rubble and aggregate, along with members of site personnel. Up to 1,360 metric tons of material will be handled every day during peak periods. Process of excavation at the Spinas end:



Excavation in the new tunnel and at the Spinas end



Loading of the conveyor belt inside the tunnel



Excavated rubble transported by conveyor belt to the site railway station in Spinas



Transfer of load to “Albula-Sprinter” train



Transfer to Preda via the existing Albula Tunnel



Dumping of bulk loads at Preda railway station



Transport by conveyor belt to the gravel plant at the installation site in Preda



Further processing into aggregate for use in concrete or as track gravel



Transfer to landfill «Las Piazzettas»



Loading of cravel and sand for Spinas



Dumping and further processing in to concrete for re-use in the New Albula Tunnel

Albula-Shuttle: Supplying the construction site
Most of the required building materials are to be transported by goods train to Preda and Spinas. The good trains of the Rhaetian Railway provide suppliers with useful services for the transport of such materials from one of the railway’s own good handling yard. Starting from here, items such as cement and other building materials are despatched by rail to another handling yard in Samedan. Trains leave Samedan twice daily as required, to serve the two site stations in Preda and Spinas respectively. The delivery run is normally carried out as follows:

  • Delivery to any goods station of the Rhaetian Railway

  • Trans-shipment of the building materials onto an RhB goods train

  • Transfer to the goods handling yard in Samedan

  • Goods are forwarded to the site stations at Preda and Spinas

  • A diesel shunter, which accompanies the train, is used to push it onto

  • a siding not equipped with overhead


Grischa-Sprinter: Collection of bulk materials from the construction- site station in Preda
The material excavated from the tunnel is also used to make aggregate, stone chips and track gravel, which cannot be used on-site. These materials are either sold on to a third party or used in other railway construction projects. The RhB’s goods line uses another train layout for this transport operation. Depending on the destination, each special goods train can carry away up to 272 metric tons of material.

Tunneling at the Albula Tunnel

Tunneling at the Albula Tunnel

Tunnelling is to take place from the Preda and Spinas ends simultaneously. This chronologically parallel excavation promises to ensure fast completion and the necessary degree of flexibility, if an incident should occur at one or both ends. It also ensures fast arrival at the point where high-quality rock containing Albula granite can be extracted for further use.

The construction site

The construction site

Work is being done on your behalf in Albula. The original Albula Tunnel is coming to the end of its useful life, and now needs either extensive repairs or complete rebuild. After examining in detail the alternatives, the RhB took the decision in 2010 to build a completely new metre-gauge railway tunnel, and convert the existing structure into a safety tunnel.