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Decision : 32 COM 8B.38
Examination of nomination of natural, mixed and cultural proprerties to the World Heritage List - Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes (SWITZERLAND / ITALY)

The World Heritage Committee:

1. Having examined Documents WHC-08/32.COM/8B and WHC-08/32.COM/INF.8B1,

2. Inscribes the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes, Switzerland and Italy, on the World Heritage List on the basis of criteria (ii) and (iv);

3. Adopts the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value:

The Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes represents an exemplary railway development for the disenclavement of the Central Alps at the beginning of the 20th century. The railway's socio-economic consequences were substantial and lasting for mountain life, the interchange of human and cultural values, and changes in the relationship between man and nature in the West. The Rhaetian Railway offers a wide diversity of technical solutions for the establishment of the railway in often severe mountain conditions. It is a well designed construction that has been realised with a high degree of quality and it has remarkable stylistic and architectural homogeneity. The railway infrastructure moreover blends in particularly harmoniously with the Alpine landscapes through which it passes.

Criterion (ii): The Rhaetian Railway of Albula/Bernina constitutes an outstanding technical, architectural and environmental ensemble. The two lines, today unified in a single transalpine line, embody a very comprehensive and diversified set of innovative solutions that bear witness to substantial interchanges of human and cultural values in the development of mountain railway technologies, in terms of its architectural and civil engineering achievements, and its aesthetic harmony with the landscapes through which they pass.

Criterion (iv): The Rhaetian Railway of Albula/Bernina is a very significant illustration of the development of mountain railways at high altitudes in the first decade of the 20th century. It represents a consummate example of great quality, which was instrumental in the long-term development of human activities in the mountains. It offers diversified landscapes in conjunction with the railway that are significant of this period of the flourishing of a relationship between man and nature.

The railway infrastructures of the Albula and Bernina lines form an authentic ensemble of great integrity. Their technical operation and their maintenance ensure long-term conservation of high quality. The Rhaetian railway company that has unified them and carries out their technical management has introduced technical changes and innovations that are compatible with the concept of authenticity of technological properties that are still in use.

The legal protection in place is adequate. The management system of the property is satisfactory, though a reinforcement of the presentation to the public of the founding heritage aspects of the property is desirable.

4. Recommends that the States Parties consider a significant reinforcement in the presentation to the public of the heritage, historical, social and environmental values of the Rhaetian Railway in the Albula/Bernina Landscapes. To this end, it would for example be appropriate to consider the creation of an Interpretation and Documentation Centre of a quality commensurate with the Outstanding Universal Value of the property.

Themes: Inscriptions on the World Heritage List
States Parties: Italy Switzerland
Year: 2008
Decision Code: 32 COM 8B.38