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By Rail

Switzerland - By Rail

The famous Swiss rail network also connects Switzerland to the rest of Europe, and it is possible to reach Basel and Zurich by direct train from Amsterdam and Berlin on the CityNightLine overnight train, or from Paris on the fast TGV train. There is a direct InterCity train between Brussels and Basel. Geneva has a direct connection from Paris on the TGV. A EuroNight train service also connects Zurich and Geneva with Barcelona.

For travel from London, the Eurostar service from London St Pancras connects with the high-speed European rail services in Paris, allowing for fast onward travel to the major Swiss cities. London to Geneva in this manner involves only a single change of train and takes between 6 hours 15 minutes and 8 hours 34 minutes, depending on the train schedule chosen. The journey time to Zurich is between 7 hours 22 minutes and 9 hours 20 minutes and also involves only one change in Paris. The Zurich route also stops in Basel.

The connection in Paris involves a change of station. Eurostar trains from England arrive at Paris Gare du Nord. The Basel and Zurich route starts from Paris Gare de l'Est, which is a 5 minute metro journey on lines 4 or 6 and is also within walking distance (allow 10 minutes). Trains on the Geneva, Lausanne or Bern routes depart from Paris Gare de Lyon. This involves a journey of approximately 28 minutes on the RER commuter train line D2.

A couple of example journeys setting off in the morning:

London - Geneva
Depart London St Pancras on the Eurostar at 8:55am. Arrive at Paris Nord at 12:17pm after a journey time of 2 hours and 22 minutes. You have 52 minutes in which to transfer to Gare de Lyon via the RER line D and find your platform at Gare de Lyon. Here you will board the French rail (SNCF) service to Geneva, travelling on a speedy and modern TGV Lyria train with a journey time of 3 hours and 5 minutes. Arrive at 16:14 (remembering to put your watch forward by an hour) at Geneva Cornavin Station. This is the city's main train station and is situated at the centre of Geneva. From here you can make your onward journey by public transport or by a taxi from the taxi rank outside. There is a shopping area beneath the station should you need anything.

London - Zurich
Depart London St Pancras on the Eurostar at 9:22am, with a journey time to Paris of 2 hours and 25 minutes. You have a connection time of 1 hour 37 minutes, although will only need around 10 minutes to reach Gare de l'Est, even if you choose to go on foot along Rue de Faubourg. If you have luggage you can take a bus or, even quicker, the Métro. If you need to kill some time head to the central hall of Gare de l'Est where you can find shops and places for a snack. Board your onward train for Zurich, departing at 14:24. After 4 hours and 50 minutes (and a stop at Basel along the way) your TGV Lyria train will arrive at Zurich Hauptbahnhof. This large station offers eating places and shops, and you can connect with local buses or trams, or catch a regional train on to your destination outside of Zurich.

Useful Resources

SBB, The Swiss Railway

For rail travel from the UK to Switzerland via Paris

RailCity Zürich, Museumstrasse 1, P.O. Box 1901, 8021 Zürich
Tel: +41 (0)51 222 27 11
Email: railcity.zuerich@sbb.ch

RailCity Genève, Rue des Gares 12, Case postale 2252, 1211 Genève 2
Tel: +41 (0)51 225 15 64

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