The Rhaetian Railway network in the canton of Graubünden (Grisons) is a metre (1,000mm.) gauge electrified system that links together many Alpine resorts, and is an essential element in the economy of eastern Switzerland. The system owes its origins to a Dutchman Willem Jan Holsboer (1834-1898) who was resident in Davos and made proposals for lines linking the town with other resorts in 1883.The first section of the line from Davos to Landquart was opened in 1889. The growing system was named the Rhätische Bahn in 1896, and subsequently grew into a network extending 384 km., linking, amongst other towns, St Moritz, Arosa, Klosters and Chur, with one station across the Italian border at Tirano.
The system includes 84 tunnels and 383 bridges, amongst them the distinguished Wiesen, Brusio and Landwasser viaducts, and its line to Tirano reaches an altitude of 2,253 m. above sea level as it crosses the Bernina pass. The system carries some 10.7 million passengers a year. Its most celebrated services are the Glacier Express and the Bernina Express, for which it uses special panoramic coaches. The company has its headquarters in an impressive building at Chur, but its central workshops are at Landquart. The system continues to evolve and the 19 km. long Vereina Tunnel was opened as recently as 1999. The section from Thusis through St Moritz to Tirano was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.