Brusio spiral viaduct

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Brusio spiral viaduct
Viadotto elicoidale di Brusio
The Bernina Express on the viaduct.
The Bernina Express on the viaduct
Coordinates 46°15′14″N 10°07′40″E / 46.25389°N 10.12778°E / 46.25389; 10.12778Coordinates: 46°15′14″N 10°07′40″E / 46.25389°N 10.12778°E / 46.25389; 10.12778
Carries Rhaetian Railway
Locale Brusio, Switzerland
Official name Viadotto elicoidale di Brusio
Other name(s) Kreisviadukt Brusio
Owner Rhaetian Railway
Maintained by Rhaetian Railway
Design Spiral arch bridge, viaduct
Material Stone
Total length 110 m (360 ft)
No. of spans 9, each of 10 m (33 ft)

The Brusio spiral viaduct (or Brusio circular viaduct; Italian: Viadotto elicoidale di Brusio, German: Kreisviadukt Brusio) is a single-track nine-arched stone spiral railway viaduct.

A signature structure of the World Heritage-listed Bernina railway, it is located near Brusio, in the Canton of Graubünden, Switzerland, and was built to limit the railway's gradient at that location within its specified maximum of 7%.[1]


The Brusio spiral viaduct forms part of the Bernina Railway section between Brusio and Campascio. It is just south of Brusio, and approximately 54 kilometres (34 mi) from St. Moritz.[2]


Train passing below the viaduct.

The viaduct was opened on 1 July 1908, upon the opening of the TiranoPoschiavo section of the Bernina Railway.[3]

A spiral viaduct was required immediately south of Brusio to limit the railway's grade to the required maximum of 7%, so the train would not slip on the way up, or be uncontrollable on the way down. Geological factors prevented the boring of the spiral tunnel that had originally been planned. Engineers therefore decided to construct on the valley floor a 360 degree curve with a 50 to 70 m (160 to 230 ft) radius, and the viaduct forms part of that curve.[1]

In 1943, the whole of the Bernina Railway was taken over by the Rhaetian Railway, which still owns and uses the spiral viaduct today.

Technical data[edit]

The spiral viaduct is 110 metres (360 ft) long, has a horizontal radius of curvature of 70 metres (230 ft), a longitudinal slope of 7%, and is made up of nine spans, each 10 metres (33 ft) in length.

See also[edit]




  • Belloncle, Patrick, Le chemin de fer Rhétique, 1889-1999, Les Editions du Cabri, Switzerland, ISBN 2-908816-45-8 (in French)
  • Moser, Beat; Pfeiffer, Peter (2004). Die RhB. Teil 2: Berninabahn • St. Moritz – Tirano [The RhB. Part 2: Berninabahn • St. Moritz – Tirano]. Eisenbahn Journal Special-Ausgabe 2/2004. Fürstenfeldbruck: Eisenbahn Journal. ISBN 3896101285.  (in German)
  • Widmer, Markus, Eisenbahnbrücken, transpress, Stuttgart (Germany), ISBN 3-344-71019-2 (in German)

External links[edit]