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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Splügen Pass

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SPLÜGEN PASS, one of the passes across the main chain of the Alps from Switzerland to Italy (from 1512 to 1797, however, Chiavenna belonged to the Grisons). The route quits that of the Albula Pass (q.v.) at Thusis, passes first through the celebrated gorge of the Via Mala, then through the Schams basin and past Andeer, beyond which the Rofna gorge gives access to the village of Splügen (from which the pass takes its name) in the upper reach of the main or Hinter branch of the Rhine (q.v.). Leaving to the west the road over the San Bernardino Pass, 6769 ft. (by which the St Gotthard railway line is joined at Biasca, the route lying entirely through Swiss territory) the Splügen road (constructed in 1823) mounts south to the pass (6946 ft.), which forms the political frontier. On the other side the road avoids the old path through the dreaded Cardinello gorge (here passed Macdonald's army in December, 1800) in order to descend by zigzags to Pianazzo. Thence past Campo Dolcino and Gallivaggio the descent is made to the ancient town of Chiavenna at the junction of the read from the upper Engadine over the Maloja Pass, and 17 m. by rail above Colico, at the northern end of the lake of Como. The distance by road from Splügen village (16 m. above Andeer) to Chiavenna is 25 m. The diligences take 5½ hours from Splügen village (4 hours above Thusis) to Chiavenna. But by the proposal to pierce a railway tunnel of about 16 m. in length from Andeer to Gallivaggio, it was calculated that the Splügen line would become the shortest route from southern Germany to Milan, while at Chiavenna it would receive the traffic from the upper Engadine.