Historic 110-year-old bridge used on picturesque train line accidentally blown up

​The Castielertobel Viaduct

The Castielertobel Viaduct was installed in 1913 to help trains navigate the region's difficult terrain

Wikimedia Commons
Holly Bishop

By Holly Bishop


Published: 13/06/2024

- 14:25

The demolition was carried out illegally after the train company admitted it had 'forgot' to consult with the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (BAV)

A 110-year-old bridge in Switzerland which sits on a picturesque train line has been accidentally blown up after a bureaucratic mix-up.

The Castielertobel Viaduct, a single-track railway bridge located in the Swiss Alps, was blown to pieces following a misunderstanding between transport officials.


The ageing railway bridge, which was built in 1913, helped trains navigate the tricky terrain of the Canton of Graubünden.

Cutting through beautiful mountains and forests, it was demolished in May after its owner - Swiss transport company Rhaetian Railway (RhB) - discovered serious damage to the structure.

\u200bThe Castielertobel Viaduct The Castielertobel Viaduct was installed in 1913 to help trains navigate the region's difficult terrain Wikimedia Commons

RhB had reportedly applied for a permit which would demolish the historic bridge without using explosives, after a government study prohibited the use of dynamite.

However, it has now emerged that the demolition was carried out illegally after RhB admitted it had “forgot” to consult with the Swiss Federal Office of Transport (BAV).

The federal office said it was up to them to authorise the demolition.

Michael Mueller, a spokesperson for BAV said: “The RhB expressly ruled out blasting for the dismantling of the Castieler viaduct.

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\u200bThe Castielertobel Viaduct

The train company had reportedly applied for a permit which would demolish the historic bridge without using explosives

Wikimedia Commons

“The fact that blasting was carried out now, despite this, contradicts this approval and is therefore illegal.”

An investigation has been launched to determine whether any criminal offences were committed.

Grisons canton - one of Switzerland’s 26 member states - where the bridge is situated, said that there were no rules that prohibited demolition at a local level.

However, Mueller rejected this: “Construction and dismantling of railway facilities must be approved by the BAV as part of a so-called planning approval procedure.

\u200bThe Castielertobel Viaduct

An investigation has been launched to determine whether any criminal offences were committed when the bridge was blown up

Wikimedia Commons

“The sole statement of a cantonal authority is not enough.”

The rail company said that they pushed on the process of demolition via dynamite, despite applying for a permit which specifically said they were not allowed to use the explosive.

Christina Florin, head of infrastructure at the RhB, said: “We simply forgot about this.

“We assumed that this was OK because all the authorities concerned had agreed. The federal government also relies on these authorities.

“We have to learn from such mistakes and make a change in the future.”

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