Notice

This multimedia story format uses video and audio footage. Please make sure your speakers are turned on.

Use the mouse wheel or the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate between pages.

Swipe to navigate between pages.

Let's go
Mountain Connections. The journey from war to tourism
Euregio - Year of Museums 2021

Mountain Connections. The journey from war to tourism

Logo https://www.mountain-connections.eu/en-en

Intro

Goto first page
The project “Mountain Connections: the journey from war to tourism” is an exploration of the long-term changes that the railway and cableway infrastructures built during World War I made to the landscape, the communities and the relationship between local populations, tourists and the environment. The outcome of this joint project between the Euroregion’s museums, academic institutions and tourist bodies, will be a series of exhibitions taking place between May and October 2021 in Trentino, South Tyrol and Tyrol.The exhibition is complemented by research projects, publications, public meetings, events and in-depth digital content. The project urges us to reflect on the development of mobility by documenting its historical evolution and examining the topics of sustainability and experience of the Alpine area.

Goto first page

Tyrol as a laboratory

The violent impact modern wars have on societies causes mass death, large-scale industrial mobilisation and widespread patriotism. However, military events can also become a driving force for technological innovation, which in the medium-to-long term can be exploited for civilian purposes.
Goto first page
The historical region of Tyrol is an interesting focal point for studying these issues. The logistical needs of the mass armies that fought in the high mountains during the First World War (1914-1918) radically transformed the territory and the technical solutions for transport and communications.
Goto first page

Railways and cableways in Tyrol before the beginning of the 20th century

Before the conflict there was a robust railway network in the Trentino-Tyrolean area, but it was limited to the main communication axes. There were only two cable cars for transporting people (Bolzano and Lana) and two cableways for transporting materials (Caldonazzo and Levico).
Goto first page

The First World War as a turning point

In a few years, during the First World War, the Austro-Hungarian Army built over 380 cableways, totalling 1780 km, interconnected with an increasingly complex railway network and a widespread communication system. On the opposite side of the front, the Italian Army built 2000 km of cableways.
Goto first page

From the war to cable cars for tourists

This evolution resulted in infrastructures and technical-engineering skills that would characterise the future development of the mountains’ use. Large multinationals (Bleichert in Germany; Cerretti and Tanfani in Italy) and local engineers (Luis Zuegg in Merano) developed state-of-the-art cable transport systems, which were exported all over the world in the 1920s and 1930s.
Goto first page

Mass tourism in the mountains

The arrival of cable transport ushered in the era of mass tourist access to the mountains (Cortina, Innsbruck, Zugspitze, Paganella, Val Gardena). Some railway lines built during the conflict improved residents’ and tourists’ access to the side valleys (Fiemme, Gardena, Dobbiaco-Cortina). These transport systems, born before skiing became a mass sport and before the car supplanted other means of transport, remained functional until the 1960s and 1970s.
Goto first page

Towards sustainable transport systems

The railway routes abandoned during the economic boom have changed their function in recent years: the revival of the railway and integrated public transport systems is now a much debated topic. Many of these disused railway lines have been converted into cycle paths.
Goto first page

Virtual exhibitions

MAG - Museo Alto Garda

The creation of the front in the Upper Garda area between the lake and the mountains

Naturparkhaus im Grand Hotel in Neu-Toblach/Dobbiaco

Railways and the Dolomites.
From war to tourism

Universität Innsbruck - Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften und Europäische Ethnologie

From the rear of the front to tourists using cableways

Touriseum - Südtiroler Landesmuseum für Tourismus | Museo provinciale del Turismo

Inventing the cable car.
Luis Zuegg, cable transport pioneer

Associazione Culturale Forte delle Benne

Behind the front. The work of Serbian and Russian prisoners and the militarisation of the Trentino area (1915-1918)

Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra - Rovereto

The military supply system between Mount Zugna and the Plateaus

Palazzo della Magnifica Comunità di Fiemme

The railway and cableways of Val di Fiemme.
From military infrastructures to tourist vehicles

Goto first page

Colophon

Goto first page
Goto first page
Goto first page
Goto first page

Footer

Powered by
mARc project

Designed by
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra ONLUS

Contatti/Contacts
info@museodellaguerra.it
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra onlus
Via Guglielmo Castelbarco, 7
38068 Rovereto TN
0464 438100

Orari e informazioni/Timetable and Info:
Visit the websites of the project partners
Goto first page

Intro

Goto first page

Transits and fortifications (1866-1914)

The fortification of the Upper Garda area by the Austrian military engineers accelerated sharply after 1866, when the state border between the Kingdom of Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire was established near Riva.The construction of control structures reached its peak in the years immediately preceding the Great War.


Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

A widespread network

Forts were of considerable importance in the creation of the front, in addition to cableways for transporting materials, which were introduced into the forts’ construction sites. Each fortification had to be equipped with exclusive, convenient and strategic access routes.
Goto first page
Attention was paid not only to new buildings, but also to evaluating the area’s existing transport networks, such as the Mori-Arco-Riva railway and the Ponale road.
Goto first page

Supplying the front and the forts: the cableway

With the outbreak of hostilities, an integrated, efficient and innovative logistics system was activated in the Upper Garda area. It connected roads, railways and cableways and was designed for transporting both goods and people. The cableways, in particular, proved to be indispensable in the Garda area, to easily overcome the great differences in altitude between the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

The postwar period: the hidden infrastructure

After the conflict, Garda ended up part of the Kingdom of Italy, with immediate consequences on its relationships with the surrounding areas. Some of the infrastructures built for the war effort, such as the roads, became part of the public network, while others, including the cableways, fell into disuse.
Goto first page

Mountain Connections

Goto first page
Goto first page

Footer

Powered by
mARc project

Designed by
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra ONLUS

Contatti/Contacts
info@museodellaguerra.it
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra onlus
Via Guglielmo Castelbarco, 7
38068 Rovereto TN
0464 438100

Orari e informazioni/Timetable and Info:
Visit the websites of the project partners
Goto first page

Intro

Goto first page

The railways in Tyrol

The Brenner railway was built between 1853 and 1867. The construction of the region’s main railway axis prompted the Habsburg authorities to build the Pusteria railway in 1869-1871. The Mori-Arco-Riva line was built in 1891, then the Valsugana railway in 1896 and, in 1909, the Trento-Malè line. In 1906, the Bolzano-Merano railway was extended to Malles.
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

The war and new railway axes

The war led to the multiplication of the railway lines already present in the region. Dozens of narrow-gauge railways and other secondary railway lines appeared, connecting with the main network and the cableway systems.
Goto first page
These arose in the Sarca valleys, in the fortified area of Trento, in Valsugana and in Val Rendena. Little trace of them remained after the end of the conflict.In addition to these, the Val Gardena railway, the Fiemme railway and the extension of the Trento-Malè railway were built, followed by plans for the Resia Pass railway.

Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

The railway of the Dolomites

Both the Austro-Hungarian and the Italian troops, in their own jurisdictions, conceived and built the first section of the Dolomites railway, which was to connect Val Pusteria with Bellunese.
Goto first page
In 1915, the Austro-Hungarian military engineers built a narrow gauge railway between Dobbiaco and Landro. In turn, the Italian soldiers built a small railway between Peaio and Cortina d'Ampezzo in 1916.
Goto first page

From war to tourism: railways up to the 1960s

Following the battle of Caporetto in October 1917, the Austro-Hungarian military engineers reorganised the section by creating a Feldbahn between Dobbiaco and Calalzo, later refitted and put back into operation by the Italian military engineers in 1920. It remained active until 1964, like many of the railways devised during the conflict.
Goto first page
Part of these railway routes, abandoned in the 1960s, are now used as cycle paths.
Goto first page

Mountain Connections

Goto first page
Goto first page

Footer

Powered by
mARc project

Designed by
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra ONLUS

Contatti/Contacts
info@museodellaguerra.it
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra onlus
Via Guglielmo Castelbarco, 7
38068 Rovereto TN
0464 438100

Orari e informazioni/Timetable and Info:
Visit the websites of the project partners
Goto first page

Intro

Goto first page

War logistics, telecommunications, cableway

Innsbruck became a major logistics centre during the First World War for managing operations in South Tyrol.The installation of the cableways sparked developments in engineering that greatly benefited the communications and telecommunications networks.


Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

Telegraph stations - 1917

0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

Know-how transfer across the border

With the establishment of the state border at Brenner in 1919, personal and intellectual relations with the southern part of historical Tyrol did not end. The knowledge developed in cable transportation and telecommunications during the war was applied to engineering in the 1920s and 1930s in North Tyrol also.
Goto first page

The cable car patents developed during the war and civilian use after the war

During the conflict, Merano engineer Louis Zuegg patented cable brakes, telephone and telegraph signalling devices and cable tensioning methods which made it possible to later build large tourist cable cars.
Goto first page
This set of patents, called the Bleichert-Zuegg system, became the post-war world gold standard for cable car construction. These innovations, brought together for the first time in the Meran-Hafling Musterseilbahn in 1922, were also quickly introduced in Tyrol, Vorarlberg, South Tyrol, Ampezzano and Trentino, in some cases in collaboration with the Italian company Cerretti and Tanfani.
Goto first page

The cable car and the high mountains: the inter-war period

Subsequently, cable systems built according to these patents spread progressively north of Brenner: in 1930 there were over 10 tourist cable cars beyond Brenner. Of particular note are the Österreichische Zugspitzbahn (1926) and Innsbruck’s Patscherkofelbahn and Nordkennebahn (1928).
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page
Other notable systems were those at Aiguille du Midi (Cerretti and Tanfani, 1924-27), Sestriere (Zuegg, 1932), Gran Sasso (Cerretti and Tanfani, 1936) and the Breuil-Plan Maison line (Cerretti and Tanfani, 1936).
Goto first page

Mountain Connections

Goto first page
Goto first page

Footer

Powered by
mARc project

Designed by
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra ONLUS

Contatti/Contacts
info@museodellaguerra.it
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra onlus
Via Guglielmo Castelbarco, 7
38068 Rovereto TN
0464 438100

Orari e informazioni/Timetable and Info:
Visit the websites of the project partners
Goto first page

Intro

Goto first page

The cable cars in Tyrol up to 1914: prototypes and projects

At the outbreak of the First World War, cable cars were a recent phenomenon. The first cable car in the Alps was built in Bolzano in 1908 by adapting an electric cableway used for transporting materials. In 1912, the pioneer of cable transport, Merano engineer Luis Zuegg, inaugurated the Lana-Vigiljoch line. Other similar projects (the Zambana-Fai line in Trentino; Plose in Bressanone; cable cars in the Innsbruck basin) were suspended in 1914 due to technical difficulties.
Goto first page
Goto first page

The cableways of the war period: an incredible development

The First World War accelerated technological innovations. The few cableways in Tyrol increased to over 380 in a couple of years. New communication, braking and signalling systems were tested. Zuegg experimented with many innovations in the area of Stelvio and the Plateaus, significantly improving the safety and average lifespan of the transport systems.
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

The model cable car: Merano – Avelengo 1922

Immediately after the war, these innovations were brought together for the Merano-Avelengo Musterseilbahn in 1922, and were quickly introduced also in Tyrol, Vorarlberg, South Tyrol, Ampezzano and Trentino, making it possible to build large cable cars for transporting people.
Goto first page
Goto first page

From the prototype to the diffusion of the cable car

A partnership with the Leipzig company Bleichert led to the construction of systems throughout the Alps: in 1926, Oropa-Lago Mucrone; in 1929, Torre de Buse-Valcava; in 1935, St. Ulrich-Seiser Alm. In the northern Alps, in 1926, the Österreichische Zugspitzbahn and the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Kreuzeckbahn were built. In 1928, the two Innsbruck cable cars were built.
Goto first page

Grand opening of Zugspitzbahn - 1927

0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page
The experience gained by Zuegg in collaboration with Cerretti and Tanfani and the implementation of his patents had meanwhile allowed the construction of the first large cable car in Trentino, the Zambana-Fai line, and later the systems of the Cortina area: the Faloria cable car (1938).
Goto first page

Mountain Connections

Goto first page
Goto first page

Footer

Powered by
mARc project

Designed by
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra ONLUS

Contatti/Contacts
info@museodellaguerra.it
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra onlus
Via Guglielmo Castelbarco, 7
38068 Rovereto TN
0464 438100

Orari e informazioni/Timetable and Info:
Visit the websites of the project partners
Goto first page

Intro

Goto first page

Militarize the territory

During the First World War, the Trentino-Tyrolean territory was transformed by the logistical needs of the conflict. Tens of kilometres of railways, hundreds of kilometres of cableways, new railway stations, new roads, airports, aqueducts, tunnels and huts were all built, in addition to telegraph, electrical and telephone lines.
Goto first page
This development of infrastructure, which transformed the landscape at the front and in the rear, was not only the work of military engineers or civilians, who had mostly been evacuated.
Goto first page

Cheap workforce: Serbian and Russian prisoners of war

The Austro-Hungarian Army employed tens of thousands of prisoners of war from the Russian Army, Serbia, and, to a small extent, Romania, organising them into construction teams under the command of military personnel. The silent presence of these forced labourers, who lived in very poor hygiene and food conditions and who contended with the civilians for the territory’s scarce resources, transformed the landscape of Trentino and South Tyrol, with transport infrastructures still in use today.
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

Cyclopean works: roads and railways in the side valleys

Herculean projects – abandoned for cost reasons by the civil administration in the early 1900s immediately after their design – were completed by relying on the forced labour of Serbs and Russians: the Fiemme and Gardena railways, the Dolomites Road, the entire Austro-Hungarian cableway supply system for the soldiers on the Plateaus and Grappa, the improvement of the Valsugana railway line.
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

Tracks: toponyms, cycle paths, memories

Although these undertakings have previously been sidelined in historical research, a faint trace remains in the toponyms, in the contacts with the civilian population that generated family memories and in the infrastructural remains, in some cases repurposed as cycle paths.
Goto first page
Goto first page

Mountain Connections

Goto first page
Goto first page

Footer

Powered by
mARc project

Designed by
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra ONLUS

Contatti/Contacts
info@museodellaguerra.it
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra onlus
Via Guglielmo Castelbarco, 7
38068 Rovereto TN
0464 438100

Orari e informazioni/Timetable and Info:
Visit the websites of the project partners
Goto first page

Intro

Goto first page

Build border fortifications

The construction of the Austro-Hungarian fortifications on the Plateaus and in lower Trentino led designers and engineers to strengthen the communication routes to the critical and fortified points of the Italian-Austrian border.
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page
In Caldonazzo, Alta Valsugana, it was decided to build a cableway to supply the forts’ construction sites in 1908. The access road from Calliano to the Plateaus was improved. Other new communication routes reached strategic points (Mount Zugna, the Pass of Fricca).
Goto first page

Cable car: Caldonazzo - Monterovere. 1918

0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

Supply an army in the mountains

The outbreak of the conflict soon revealed the inadequacy of the road network. Railway and communication lines were improved. In preparation for the Austrian 1916 spring offensive and due to the logistical needs imposed by war in the mountains, a widespread transport system was developed over rail and cableway on the Plateaus.
Goto first page

An integrated advanced logistics: rail and cableway

The greatest engineering and logistical effort was concentrated in the area between the River Adige and Mount Grappa. The supply system developed by the Austro-Hungarian Army was capable of supplying the front with thousands of tonnes of materials and handled over 5,000 people a day.
Goto first page
A similar effort characterised the work of the Italian military engineers. Unable to rely on a railway network in occupied territory, they built a very dense network of cableways, which extensively supplied the front.
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

The transformation of the landscape and new technical solutions

The railway stations became first class logistics centres. The few cableways in existence at the beginning of the conflict were replaced with large-scale systems that reached the front line. A complex supply system made it possible to cater for hundreds of thousands of men in the mountains for years. War requirements allowed experimentation with technical solutions which would then be used in the following decades in this area.
Goto first page

Mountain Connections

Goto first page
Goto first page

Footer

Powered by
mARc project

Designed by
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra ONLUS

Contatti/Contacts
info@museodellaguerra.it
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra onlus
Via Guglielmo Castelbarco, 7
38068 Rovereto TN
0464 438100

Orari e informazioni/Timetable and Info:
Visit the websites of the project partners
Goto first page

Intro

Goto first page

Designing a mountain railway at the time of nationalism

In 1891, Paolo Oss Mazzurana – the mayor of Trento – devised a tram connection between the regional capital and the main Trentino valleys. The work included the route that should have reached Predazzo from Lavis, along Val di Cembra.
Goto first page
However, to attract the economies of the Fiemme and Fassa valleys to the German-speaking area, the nearby Bolzano tried to obstruct this proposal with an alternative idea: the Egna-Fiemme line via San Lugano. In 1913, the Comunità Generale di Fiemme (a local institutional body) voted in favour of the latter. However, the outbreak of the war put a stop to this work.
Goto first page

A railroad to supply the front

In 1915, the Austro-Hungarian military authorities decided to immediately prepare their infrastructure for quickly supplying the troops on the Lagorai front.
Goto first page
The engineer Leopold Örley oversaw construction, which began in February 1916 and ended on January 18 1918: a 50 km long route, built by 6,000 men, including soldiers, prisoners and civilians.
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

From war to tourism

At the end of the conflict, the railway was entrusted to the Italian State Railways and on 1 February 1919 the train began to be used by the public. In 1929, with management transfers to the FEVF and STE companies, the gauge was enlarged and the traction was electrified.
Goto first page
The 1950s were characterised by a lively tourist trade, but the travel times, not competitive with those of the coaches, led the new operating company, FEAR, to suppress the line: January 10 1963 was its final day of operation.
Goto first page

From the valley to the peaks: the cableway

In addition to the railway, sixteen sections of cableways were prepared on the Lagorai front between 1915 and 1918. A funicular was also built between Bellamonte and the Lusia Pass.
Goto first page
Goto first page

The winter season: the birth of chairlifts and cable cars

After the two world wars, in the mid-1960s, the winter tourist season began to take off in Fiemme. Consequently, the ski areas of Alpe Cermis, Latemar, Lavazè and above all Alpe Lusia were born.
Goto first page
In the latter station, the construction of today's cable cars followed the old route of the military cableway, on the Bellamonte side.
Goto first page
0:00
/
0:00
Start video now
Goto first page

Mountain Connections

Goto first page
Goto first page

Footer

Powered by
mARc project

Designed by
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra ONLUS

Contatti/Contacts
info@museodellaguerra.it
Museo Storico Italiano della Guerra onlus
Via Guglielmo Castelbarco, 7
38068 Rovereto TN
0464 438100

Orari e informazioni/Timetable and Info:
Visit the websites of the project partners
Goto first page
Scroll down to continue Swipe to continue
Swipe to continue
Close
Overview
Scroll left
Chapter 2 Tyrol as a laboratory

Tyrol as a laboratory

Tyrol as a laboratory

Chapter 3 Railways and cableways in Tyrol before the beginning of the 20th century

Railways and cableways in Tyrol before the beginning of the 20th century

Chapter 4 The First World War as a turning point

The First World War as a turning point

Chapter 5 From the war to cable cars for tourists

From the war to cable cars for tourists

Chapter 6 Mass tourism in the mountains

Mass tourism in the mountains

Chapter 7 Towards sustainable transport systems

Towards sustainable transport systems

Chapter 8 Virtual exhibitions

Virtual exhibitions

Chapter 10 Footer

Footer

Scroll right