Railways are considered an environmentally friendly means of transport. From the very beginning, however, they face natural obstacles – especially in the Alps – and elaborate measures have to be taken to protect them against the forces of nature. In 1935, the SBB produces an album of photographs documenting the extensive protection structures on the north and south sides of the Gotthard. Since the beginning of the century, protective woodlands and structures of stone, rail and sleepers have shielded trains against avalanches and mudslides. Where the slopes above the rail line are bare, avalanche barriers are installed to prevent snow from sliding onto the track.
« On Christmas Eve, 24 December 1881, the first train travelled through the Gotthard tunnel. People had fought the mountain for a full seven years and five months. »SJW children's book Our Gotthard Rail Line, 1965, p. 23