Here people speak Romansh, Italian and German
Graubünden is extensive and multilingual. Distances are long, mountains high and cultures disparate on this side and the other side of Albula and Bernina. One thing connects all of them: the Rhaetian Railway and here everyone speaks the same language. Interviews with the station and sales manager in Scuol, Poschiavo and Thusis.
Hotel Bellaval, Scuol. We meet Simon Rohner. He grew up in Lavin. He has been working for RhB since 1995 and has been station and sales manager in Scuol since 1997. He speaks fi ve languages.
Which language do you use most frequently?
It’s hard to say. Romansh has a high profi le in Lower Engadin. German plays an important role as we are a region which is strongly characterised by tourism.
And within RhB?
German. It makes it easier. Most people in Chur speak German. It’s hard with my colleagues from the Romansh region. Concentration is key when speaking with someone from the highlands.They say many things differently.
And what about you? Are you drawn more to the south or the north?
(laughs) That’s difficult. The station at Scuol is part of the southern sales region. This gives our heart more of a southern beat. The clocks tick diff erently on the other side of the Albula. That is definitely the case beyond the Bernina Pass. People there take a more relaxed view on things. The foundation of the Bernina Railway over 100 years ago saw the Italianità come over the mountain. This grand route is still a unique technical and cultural specimen within RhB today. It is necessary to improvise more in the south.
And what about the north?
In the south we are tourism specialists. In the north they are much more knowledgeable about commuting. Nevertheless we must not forget the tourist locations beyond the Vereina Tunnel, Davos and Klosters, which we benefit from considerably.
Last but not least, what have you wanted to ask your colleague Godenzi in Poschiavo for a long time?
I am amazed how he manages to remain so calm after so many years, even when the heat is on.
1 pm by the fountain on the Piazza Comunale. We are greeted by station manager Dino Godenzi. He was born one kilometre from Poschiavo, grew up in the valley and has worked for RhB since 1st May 1973.
Mr Godenzi, is life more relaxed here, well away from headquarters?
(laughs out loud) You may well think so but I can put your mind at rest. We work hard here as well. Just come and see during Ferragosto!
So it is not a life of dolce far niente?
Absolutely not. But the culture is very different to that on the other side of the Albula. Direct contact with the customer is absolutely essential. I love the interaction . We are chatterboxes here in the south. People want to talk, not just book everything electronically and purchase it online.
Do you only go over the mountains if you have to?
On the contrary almost every resident of Poschiavo is „forced“ to go to Chur today. I was already helping out a farmer in Fischingen, Thurgau at the age of ten. I have already completed 56 postings during my lifetime. I have been almost everywhere with RhB, including ten years in Samedan, beyond the Bernina.
We are going to Thusis in a minute. What should we say to your colleague Caderas?
Ask him how he feels as a southerner in the north and where he would rather work.
5:35 pm, Thusis, Café Giger. Fabio Caderas, station and sales manager, is sitting down for a wellearned cup of coffee and a slice of delicious cake. His mother comes from Salerno and his father originates from Ladir in Graubünden’s highlands. This means that German is actually a foreign language for him. He has got over 30 years of service under his belt at RhB.
Tell me honestly, how do you find it in Thusis?
I absolutely love it. I feel that I am in a perfect situation, right on the hub between Chur and Engadin, at the gateway to Viamala, San Bernardino and Via Spluga.
Do you ever feel homesick?
No, far from it. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to experience all aspects of RhB at a busy station. There are great streams of commuter traffic in the morning and in the evening with a constant flow of tourists in between.
So you don’t just speak German here?
No, although German is of course the most widely spoken language. But Italian is also very well established here so I am very much in my element. On the other hand I don’t speak Romansh very often.
How do you get on with the local people?
Very well indeed. We have got lots of regular customers who buy a Graubünden season ticket. We are also discussing ideas with the local council for highlighting the starting point of the UNESCO World Heritage route from the village to the station.
If you had the choice would you prefer to work in Scuol or Poschiavo?
Neither of them although I do of course value both colleagues enormously. I speak to Simon Rohner regularly. He is a real software guru. Dino Godenzi is a great role model. He is always conscientious but also able to maintain the party spirit. If I had to change location I would prefer to go to Arosa where my career started all those years ago.