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Monday, May 31, 2010

Stamps mark two railway centenaries

Not just one, but two illustrious Swiss railway lines are celebrating their 100-year milestone in 2010 – the Niesen funicular and the Rhaetian Railway Bernina line. Swiss Post is issuing two stamps to commemorate each centenary.

Since 1910, a funicular has been operating between Mulenen and the summit of the Niesen, high above Lake Thun. It is a unique railway, covering 3.5 kilometres and climbing over 1,600 metres. The gradient on the steepest section is an impressive 68 percent. To reflect the enormous height gain, the Niesen funicular special stamp is being printed in portrait format.

The Bernina line, too, is a Swiss jewel, linking St.Moritz with Tirano in Italy. The route passes through three language regions as well as vastly different climates, ranging from snow and glaciers to palm trees. In 2008, the Bernina line and its sister the Albula line became UNESCO World Heritage Sites.