Rhaetian Railway in the Albula / Bernina Landscapes

The Landwasser Viaduct

In a large curve, the viaduct leads directly into a steep rock face. This breathtaking structure is the most photographed subject on the Rhaetian Railway line today. But the history of the viaduct's creation is also worth marvelling at:  

The Greek-Swiss engineer Alexander Acatos (1873-1950) was entrusted with the construction of the viaduct. It was he who later planned the extension of Zurich's main railway station for the SBB. Under Acatos' guidance, the five limestone piers with six semicircular vaults, each with a span of 20 metres, were constructed from March 1901. 

For cost reasons, a new construction technique was developed for the building: The piers were built without external auxiliary scaffolding. Instead, iron scaffolds were bricked into the three longest piers and adjusted in height as construction progressed. The three iron scaffolds were connected with cross beams on which electric construction cranes could be mounted. These lifted the required building material to the corresponding pier height. 

A mixture of lime-based mortar and sand was used to join the stones of the piers together. The mortar came from a factory in Unterterzen on Lake Walen and was transported to the Landwasser Viaduct by a 0.75-metre gauge construction railway built on the future route.

After only about one and a half years of construction, the Landwasser Viaduct was finished in October 1902. Since then, the building structure has proved to be resistant: The Landwasser Viaduct only had to be slightly repaired in 2009. 

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