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Rhätische Bahn opens 'Little Sister' bridge

04 Nov 2018

SWITZERLAND: Rhätsiche Bahn services are scheduled to be diverted over the recently-completed second Hinterrhein bridge at Reichenau from November 4, enabling the original bridge dating from 1895 to be closed for renovation.

The older structure is scheduled to reopen in late 2019. This will complete a SFr32·5m project to provide two parallel single track lines over the 0·6 km between Reichenau-Tamins and Reichenau-Farsch, enabling services on Rhätische Bahn’s Albula and Surselva routes to be separated onto different to improve timetable resilience.

Costing SFr14m to build, the new Sora Giuvna (‘Little Sister’) steel bridge was the winning design in an international engineering competition held in 2015. It has an overall length of 200 m, with a 63 m long main span weighing 1 000 tonnes crossing the river and a 46 m span over the A13 road. 

The bridge concept and detailed design were provided by Cowi and WaltGalmarini, working with architects Dissing+Weitling and local landscape architects Hager Partner. Contractors included Casutt Wyrsch Zwicky, Jörimann Stahl, Schneider Stahlbau, Toscano Stahlbau and J Erni.

‘The team selected a slender and minimalist design with a high architectural quality to complement the dramatic mountainous environment and not detract from the adjacent structure by maximising transparency’, said Cowi Project Director Ian Firth. ‘Achieving the desired slenderness is always a challenge, particularly for a railway bridge.’

The groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 29 2017, and the bridge was officially inaugurated on October 18 this year.

  • Read more about Rhätische Bahn’s infrastructure investment programme in the November 2018 issue of Railway Gazette International magazine.