The history of the ALPIN HAUS Smart family Hotel at Selva in Val Gardena

The ALPIN HAUS, formerly known as the Casa Alpina, was the terminus of the train service of Val Gardena, built by the Austrians in 1916.

The ALPIN HAUS Smart & Family Hotel, traditionally the  “ CASA ALPINA”, has a characteristic which distinguishes it from the other hotels in the valley, for it is the result of a careful restoration of the former rail terminal of the SELVA di VAL GARDENA train service.
The building (now the modernised annex of the Hotel), which goes back to 1939, is the old end-station and terminus of the Austrian railway line built in 1916.

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The railway line, constructed for wartime purposes and which had to be completed in a short time, was built by the Austrian military railway engineers during the Great War between 1915 and 1916. The construction was carried out in a rather slapdash fashion with poor materials (bridges and viaducts, for example, were made of wood and consolidated with brickwork only later), with a narrow gauge, using the forced labour of prisoners of war.
The railway was inaugurated on the 6 February 1916, after only 5 months’ work.

After the war, as a result of the transfer of the territory to Italy, the line was reorganized to make it suitable for public transport, enabling passengers to travel up the Chiusa valley as far as Plan di Val Gardena, and to enjoy a magnificent view of the surrounding mountains.

Despite the constant increase in tourist traffic, no upgrading of the line was planned and on the 28 May 1960, despite the fact that the equipment had already been modernised, it was decided to suspend the service and use a bus instead; the railway line was closed definitively in 1962.

From 1969, the abandoned line from Chiusa to Ortisei was used to build an access road to the valley in preparation for the International Federation SCI championships in 1970; the railway track in the upper valley became a footpath connecting the villages; in 2011, the Ladin Museum Ciastel de Tor dedicated an exhibition and a catalogue to this feat of engineering.

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