Pete @ 04-08-2008 08:54


It is a service of the private owned rail company called Rhätischen Bahn. The train consists of panoramic cars only and has compulsory reservation. It runs over one of the most scenic railway routes in Europe, most part of it being „UNESCO World Culture Heritage“.
It runs on the route Chur/Davos/St. Moritz – Pontresina - Tirano

👉 More information and the Swiss Rail Pass is available at

Free travel with InterRail YOUTH and ADULT passes.

But you have to pay a reservation (in both directions per route you travel):

Chur to Tirano
CHF 10.00 in Winter / CHF 14.00 in Summer (May to October)

St. Moritz to Tirano
CHF 10.00 in Winter / CHF 14.00 in Summer (May to October)

Bernina Bus from Tirano to Lugano
CHF 14.00

👉 For more information have a look at their website:

Similar to the Glacier Express, you also have the alternative of using regular regional trains without compulsory reservation:

💡 FREE travel by Regional trains on the route CHUR/DAVOS/ST. MORITZ – PONTRESINA – TIRANO.
To save money, use the free regional trains instead of the Bernina Express. When travelling from Chur or Davos, you will have to change trains, from St. Moritz trains run directly to Tirano.

💡 Most spectacular sections:
Thusis – Filisur – Preda (on the Chur – Samedan section)
Davos – Filisur
Morteratsch – Ospizio Bernina – Alp Grüm – Poschiavo and spiral viaduct in Brusio (on the St. Moritz – Tirano section)

Chur - Tirano:
Davos - Tirano:
St Moritz - Tirano:
Tirano - Chur:
Tirano - Davos:
Tirano - St Moritz:


ShoRa @ 21-06-2009 20:40

I had a look on timetable, and it says that on this route, from Tirano to Chur, there are also trains (R, RE) which don't require reservation, beside D trains which require reservation. Are those R and RE trains free?

Flo @ 21-06-2009 21:34

Yup, free travel on the network of Rhätische Bahn - except for those services marked [R] in the schedules, like the mentioned Bernina Express (consisting of observation cars).

ShoRa @ 22-06-2009 19:53

thanks flow 🙂
are you sure for R (maybe you thought D) because it writes same for R and for RE?
and, yes, if choose those with reservation required, how much in advance I should reserve, and can I buy reservation in Germany or Austria, considering it is private railway?

kimare @ 21-05-2011 23:35

We're going on our first interrail with our kids. Starting i Zürich we would like to see the famous swiss scenic lines. Our plan is to travel from Zürich via Chur/ Filisur to St Moritz and then return from St. Moritz via Davos heading to Austria.

Is there a more spectatular route you would suggest?
Does the 1-hourish route via Davos offers anything that makes the extra roundabout worthwhile?

Wouter @ 23-06-2015 18:24

The Rhätischen Bahn had done some amazing work last months. When you are going or was traveling with the RHB have a look at it!

There new website:

For being part of the UNESCO World Culture Heritage they made the following:
The whole route of the RHB has been filmed walking. There's some interesting footage at the stations like St Moritz or Tirano. The whole route takes more than 35 hour.

The whole train route is filmed by Google Street View as well. But not only the train route, most paths (like above) are on there as well!


Making of on there Youtube page: LINK TIMED OUT

kiwiajeossi @ 07-01-2018 09:07

We have booked a day trip on the Bernina express through viator, but now I'm wondering whether it could be done cheaper if we booked ourselves. The viator package leaves Milan by bus around 7AM for Tirano, takes the Bernina Express to St Moritz, then returns after around 2.5 hours there.

Is something similar doable booking independently? I've checked the trenitalia site and it lists an 06:20 train to Tirano that arrives at 08:52, 82 minutes before the Bernina Express departs at 10:14. There's also a 7:20 that arrives at 09:52, but I think that's cutting it a bit fine!

The RHB site lists Tirano-St Moritz return as 112CHFpp (+10CHF reservation pp) 1st class, for a total cost of 244CHF. At current exchange rates, this is nearly $100NZ less than we paid for our tour tickets, since we could adjust our plans and use our Eurail pass to get free travel on the Regionale from Milan to Tirano.

If I have read the RHB timetable correctly, the Bernina Express from St Moritz to Tirano would get in at 17:32, meaning we'd have around 90 minutes to kill in Tirano before the next train back to Milan, departing at 19:08. That would be plenty of time for a relaxing bite to eat and a little stroll.

The tour we bought includes 2nd class tickets, making the independent option even more appealing, if I have read the timetables correctly. The Bernina Express booking window isn't open for another month, which is still well inside the time allowed for free cancellation and full refund of our tour package. That's why I'm posting all this here. I'm hoping the rail experts can double check my timings and give a Ja oder nein. Hoffentlich, "Ja!" 🤣

kiwiajeossi @ 07-01-2018 14:01

I decided to try contacting them directly, and this was their response. I wasn't too far off in my calculations, except that I had used the off-peak reservation fee of 10CHF, not the correct one, the peak fee 14CHF

Tirano dep. 09h41 (outward journey)

St. Moritz arr. 12h11

St. Moritz dep. 14h48 (return)

Tirano arr. 17h00

Flo @ 08-01-2018 17:48

09:52 to 10:14 is easily doable under normal operating cirucmstances but you never know so planning with a bit spare time is certainly a good idea. However, according to the BEX departs at 10:06 already.
Personally I would take the Regio at 11:00 and travel in the "Allegra" EMU and take a seat in the 1st class compartment in the front. There you can enjoy the drivers view as the drivers compartment is separated by a glass window from the passenger compartment. 🙂

17:32 to 19:08 leaves enough time for a proper pizza at the restaurant next to the Trenord station. 🙂

kiwiajeossi @ 08-01-2018 20:46

Thanks for the link to the fahrplanfelder pdf. Looking at that schedule, it's clear the RHB rep who emailed me with the timetable gave me the timetable for the train that leaves immediately before the BEX, not for the BEX itself. Also the same on the return trip, the timetable she provided matches the train departing immediately prior to the BEX. I might ask her about this, as it seems the BEX stops for a short time at Ospizio Bernina, presumably for photo opportunities etc, while the other trains don't.

On the other hand, she also said that the train she has suggested would be valid for our Eurail pass, making a total cost of of only 56CHF (14 CHF per one way trip per person). So if our Eurail Pass ISN'T valid for the BEX, then saving a few hundred Euros definitely makes her proposed timetable more attractive than the BEX 🤣

Flo @ 08-01-2018 20:56

BEX is a train type operated by RhB (Rhätische Bahn; not to be confused with RHB = Rorschach Heiden Bergbahn, nowadays part of Appenzeller Bahnen, which means that Eurail is valid on BEX. 🙂

What date are you travelling?
Please note that BEX 976 doesnt run daily (see note 14), while R 1640 also carries observation cars on dates in note 25 (basically on those dates when 976 is not running). Also, in July and August R 1640 carries open carriages (open-air, no closed roof) if weather is good. 🙂

Only a very limited number of BEX has a scheduled stop at Ospizio Bernina; most BEX dont. However, all regular "R" (Regional) trains stop at Ospizio Bernina.

kiwiajeossi @ 08-01-2018 21:39

Thanks for the correction of the Case "RhB" definitely, as in the signature lines of all the emails I've received from "" : "Rhätische Bahn AG"

We're planning to take the trip on Thursday May 3rd. And I see in Note 14 the words "ohne 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 Mai" This would "ohne" doubt explain why the RhB rep did not suggest the BEX, if it is not actually running on the date we have in mind 😢

kiwiajeossi @ 09-01-2018 19:34

I'm quite disappointed with RhB now. After I emailed them with a screenshot of the fahrplanfelder and asked whether the BEX was available I received this reply:

"During the winter period (till 9th of May) there is just one Bernina Express form Chur to Tirano and back. On the Bernina line from St. Moritz to Tirano and back there are panoramic coaches connected on the standard coaches, it’s called Bernina panorama winter offer. The supplement for this offer is just CHF 5.00 instead of CHF 10.00. "

What annoyed me about this was that the person who wrote it was the FOURTH different RhB staffer to send me an email in relation to my bokking enquiry. She was also the FIRST to state two things - (1) That the BEX itself is NOT avaible on the date we have in mind and (2) That the reservation fee is only 5CHF not 10.

Three different RhB staffers all replied to my email, talking to me about the BEX which they all knew was not available. I know they know, because I was given the exact timetable for train 1640 from the column in the Fahrplanfelder dirctly next to the BEX column.

That is disappointing in itself. I was having rep[eated conversations about a service I thought I was going to book, they all knew it was not available, and said nothing.

Worse from my point of view though was not telling me about the reduced reservation fee. Thgis was not simply a case of NOT sharing information, a passive withholding. All three of them actively told me the fee would be 10CHF. THAT was very disageeable "we won't tell you the service you want isn't available, but we WILL tell you that you'll pay the same price as for the service you want"

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