Our guide to Geneva's main train station tells you what to look out for when departing and arriving from here by train.
Geneve train station has something of a split personality as it used by Swiss (SBB) and French (SNCF) trains to France.
French timetables and info sites tend to refer to the station as Geneve-Cornavin; it is not the only station in the city used by French (SNCF) trains
However the station is usually simply named ‘Genéve’ on timetables and other signage on the Swiss rail network.
The signs on the platforms/voies* say ‘Geneve’.
*Geneve/Geneva is located in the French speaking area of Switzerland.
The station also has a split personality depending on which entrance/exit you use.
As you look towards the station from the tram stops and taxi rank there are two entrances to the station:
(1) the West (left) departure hall,
(2) the East (right) departure hall.
A passage/corridor links these two departure halls - and this is where the main ticket/reservation office is located.
The main (left) entrance leads you into a stunningly preserved art deco entrance hall.
Straight ahead from this hall is a passage way that provides access by escalators and elevators to voies (platforms/tracks) 1 -6
Note that this passage, and therefore this West departure hall has no access to voies (platforms/tracks) 7 and 8; and this is where the trains to France depart from.
This is a more modern departure hall where most of the food/drink/retail outlets at Geneve train station are located.
This departure hall has escalators and a lift that lead up to the east passage way which gives access to ALL of the voies (platforms/tracks) at the station.
However, the access to voies (platforms/tracks) 1 -6 from this passage way is by slopes and stairs; and not by lifts or escalators.
So if you would prefer or need to use lifts/escalators to access the trains that will depart from platforms/tracks/voies 1 -6, don't use this passage way and instead use the West wing of the station.
If you have used the east entrance from the street, turn to the left when you're in the station, walk passed the ticket office and then turn to the right.
Trains to France depart from voies (tracks platforms) 7 and 8; the Lyria trains to Paris usually depart from voie/platform 8.
So to access these voies/platforms/tracks you have to use the East (right) departure hall and passage way.
At the end of this east passage way is an elevator and a slope up to the trains, so this part of the station has step-free access from the East departure hall.
To access these voies (platforms/tracks) 7 and 8, you may have to pass through passport control.
So aim to be at the station a minimum of 15 mins prior to departure if you will be taking a Lyria train.
There are two routes for exiting voies (platforms/tracks) 1-6, which is where the trains from other Swiss destinations arrive.
If you don't have luggage etc, use whatever exit down from the voie (platform/track) is nearest to you when you step off of the train.
Both of the two routes to the exits give good access to the tram stops, taxi rank and the city centre.
However, if you do have luggage etc then don't follow the crowd.
If you have arrived on an IC or IR train from other cities in Switzerland, then the west passage way will be towards the front of the train.
This west passage way can be accessed by lifts and escalators
The East passage way will be towards the rear of the train and it can only be accessed by a slope and stairs.
However, if you will be connecting into a TER or Lyria train to France, by far the quickest route to those trains (which will be departing from voies/platforms/tracks 7 - 8) is to use the East passage way.
There is only one exit from voies (platforms/tracks) 7 - 8, which is where trains from France, including the Lyria trains from Paris will arrive.
It has access via a slope and elevator to the east passage way at the station, which leads to the main exit from the station, at the end of the passage there are escalators and and an elevator down into the main hall.
Also all the other voies (platforms/tracks) that the trains to Switzerland depart from can be accessed from this passage way, but only by slopes and stairs and not escalators and lifts.
If you want reach them by elevator, you will need to take a longer route by passing through from the east hall to the west hall (across the front of the at ground level); the west hall is connected to voies 1 - 6, by a passage way that has elevators up to voies (platforms/tracks) 1-6.
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