High-speed trains between France and Switzerland are these days run entirely by Lyria. The operator introduces new timetables from Sunday 15 December 2019. Not everyone is happy with the proposed changes. Here are the highlights:
- The once-daily direct train from Paris to Olten and Berne is being withdrawn. This train is the last surviving link between Paris and the Swiss capital.
- The year-round direct service from Geneva to Marseille will be axed. There will be a limited summer service on the route for an eight-week period in July and August 2020. A couple of years ago, the direct train from Geneva to Nice was withdrawn, then last December, the through service from Bâle (Basel) to Marseille was axed. That left the once-daily Lyria train from Geneva to Marseille as the sole surviving direct link from Switzerland to the south of France.
- More Paris to Lausanne trains will be routed via Geneva, which gives a longer overall journey time for those travelling from the French capital to Lausanne.
- A consequence of the last point above is that there will be fewer Paris to Lausanne trains routed via the traditional Jura route through Vallorbe.
- On the plus side, the first train of the day from Paris to Switzerland will leave notably earlier. Departing from the Gare de Lyon at 06.18, it will reach Geneva at 09.29 (50 mins earlier than now), continuing to Lausanne where it is timed to arrive at 10.15. The first train of the day from Paris does not presently reach Lausanne until 11.37.
- The basic pattern of half-a-dozen trains each day departing Paris for Bâle, with all but occasional trains continuing to Zürich, continues as now with timings barely changed. As now, three of the six Paris to Bâle services will include a stop at Dijon Ville.
- The only stations in Switzerland now served by Lyria are thus Bâle, Zürich, Geneva, Lausanne and Vallorbe. Contrast that with summer 2009, when there were direct Lyria trains to Paris from over a dozen Swiss stations.
- Lyria’s decision to drop the year-round link with the south of France is a big blow. It’s not so long ago that there were three direct trains each day from Geneva to the south of France, serving a string of destinations from Montpellier in the west to Nice in the east. In 2020, it’ll merely be a summer holiday service to Avignon, Aix and Marseille.
Read more on Swiss reactions to these changes in this issue of the “Letter from Europe” by hidden europe magazine.
Copyright © Nicky Gardner and Susanne Kries. All rights reserved.