Wednesday, 31 October 2018

A shortest and beautiful train ride: Centovalli Railway

Picture copyright: italianways.com
Insubrica Historica along with our visit from Munich Alexander, took this past weekend the train journey from Locarno to Domodossola with the Centovalli Railway. We opted for a short stint, boarding the train from Intragna to Camedo and back to Intragna. The railway is the shortest and most beautiful connection between lago Maggiore, the French speaking part of Switzerland and Berne, the capital of Switzerland.

Even if our train ride was slightly more than 30 minutes each way (about 9 km), it was a very panoramic train journey through the picturesque “One Hundred Valleys”. The train passed deep gorges and crevices with glittering cascading waterfalls, as since the early morning of Sunday it was pouring rain on this part of the Swiss alps. The train crossed colourful alpine meadows, several bridges, vineyards and forests of chestnut trees. 

The Domodossola-Locarno railway was born from an initiative mainly due to the then mayor of Locarno avv. Francesco Balli (1852-1924). The construction of the railway began in 1913 by the engineer Giacomo Sutter (1874-1939). The project stalled right at the beginning forced to halt as a consequence of the First World War, but gained momentum following a Convention signed on 12 November 1918 in Rome between the plenipotentiaries Sidney Constantino Baron Sonnino (1847-1922) and Hans von Segesser (1877-1935), representing respectively, the King of Italy and the Federal Council of the Swiss Confederation. 

The railway entered service on 25 November 1923 using for the first section the works of the Locarno-Bignasco railway and the Locarno trams that had the same metric gauge. Since then, it has regularly carried out its task of local connection between the region of Ossola and Locarno at Lake Maggiore. Even in the difficult period of the Partisan Republic of Ossola, it did not interrupt its important function of connection. Despite 1978 disastrous floods, which heavily affected the track in the Italian territories the service continued to perform as per today.