TGV Lyria in Geneva, Switzerland

SNCF and SBB extend their partnership for TGV Lyria services

TGV Lyria in Geneva, Switzerland Markus Eigenheer via Flickr

The French and Swiss state railways SNCF and SBB have renewed their cooperation agreement until 2027. The TGV Lyria cross-border services will thus continue running for at least another five years.

The last time the cooperation between SBB and SNCF was renewed was in 2011, when the agreement was extended for 12 years. The contract, in place for over 40 years, involves the Lyria subsidiary. That entity is 74 per cent-owned by SNCF, with the remaining 26 per cent held by SBB. While SNCF is renewing its cooperation with SBB, it discontinued its cooperation with the Spanish Renfe in December 2022, after a one-sided decision by the French railways.

The TGV Lyria runs three routes between Switzerland and France: Geneva-Paris in 3 hours and 11 minutes, Lausanne-Paris in 3 hours and 41 minutes and Zurich-Basel-Paris in 4 hours and 4 minutes. With 17 return journeys between Switzerland and France, a total of 18.000 seats are available every day. In summer, a daily train service also offers high-speed connections from Geneva to Marseille.

The TGV Lyria routes between France and Switzerland
The TGV Lyria routes between France and Switzerland

After a difficult period marked by the pandemic, which every international rail service faced, there are signs of recovery, say SNCF and SBB. In 2022, TGV Lyria carried almost five million passengers. Despite the transport restrictions still in place in the first quarter of that year, this was the same number as in 2019.

Cooperation between the French and Swiss railways started in 1984 with the first service of the TGV Paris – Lausanne. In 2002, the Lyria subsidiary was established under French law, following services called Rail France Suisse. Lyria’s mission is to “optimise rail operations between Switzerland and France, both in terms of the management of the company and the production and quality control of on-board services”.

Recently renewed fleet

The high-speed rolling stock of TGV Lyria is the property of the SNCF. From 15 December 2019, the single-deck TGV trains have been gradually replaced by double-deck Euroduplex trains. The fleet now consists of 15 double-decker trains with 507 seats each, compared to the 361 seats of the previous trains. This means an additional 30 per cent seat capacity, and a total of 4.500 additional seats per day for the entire network to meet the increasing demand.

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Author: Esther Geerts


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