Friday, 6 December 2013

Postcard of the Day No. 61, Albulabahn

We seem to be faced here with a scene from a mediocre and depressing comic opera set in the Swiss Alps. It looks like the moment when a passing prosperous lederhosen-clad traveller pauses to get his glass of local wine refilled by the innkeeper’s wife while an unprepossessing agricultural labourer looks on in silent resentment. But what brings the image to life is the magnificently irrelevant presence in the distance of a tiny train lead by two locomotives, blasting its way uphill with copious clouds of smoke and steam trailing behind. The horse and cart represent old technology while the railway viaducts that scale the mountainside are a triumph of the most advanced civil engineering. The card is a pleasing addition to the select group of postcards that feature a wheelbarrow. The spectacular Albula railway was constructed between 1898 and 1903 and since 2008 has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are 55 bridges and 39 tunnels over its 39 mile length. To conclude we offer a further selection of cards in which trains can be seen crossing bridges.

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