Lyria drops Neuchâtel from Bern-Paris route

Direct high-speed train service between Bern and Paris via Neuchâtel will be scrapped as of mid-December, Franco-Swiss rail operator Lyria said on Wednesday.

Lyria drops Neuchâtel from Bern-Paris route
Photo: Wkimedia Commons

The company, operated jointly by SNCF, the French rail company, and Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), said it would be replaced by TGV service on a direct route via Basel.

Last December, Lyria served warning that it was considering scrapping the route, which also has stops in the French towns of Pontarlier, Frasne, and Dijon, because it was losing too much money.

At the time, Lyria general manager Alain Barbey said the TGV route through Neuchâtel was running a deficit of 2.3 million francs ($2.4 million) a year.

The company said the new direct route through Basel would reduce the length of the trip by 15 minutes.

In a press release, Lyria noted that many passengers were already travelling between the French and Swiss capitals by making a transfer at Basel.

“Since the opening of the Rhine-Rhone high-speed line in December 2011, customers departing from Bern wishing to go to Paris have favoured an itinerary with a transfer at Basel,” the company said.

Officials in Neuchâtel and neighbouring communities in France were disappointed by the decision.

More than 20,000 people had signed a petition to maintain the TGV route.

SBB and SNCF are promising to provide alternative, high-quality service to serve towns on the Neuchâtel-Paris route.

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Where can you travel by international train from Switzerland this Christmas?

If you feel like getting away over the holidays, Swiss Federal Railways and its European partners offer many international travel options. Here's a run through of what's available.

Where can you travel by international train from Switzerland this Christmas?
You can travel by train to multiple destinations. Photo by AFP

After being mostly suspended due to border closures during the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak in the spring, the trains between Switzerland and neighbouring countries have gradually resumed their operations.

The timetable for various destinations indicated in this article shows just some links between Swiss and foreign cities.

You can see the complete schedule here.

READ MORE: Covid-19: What you need to know if you are travelling abroad from Switzerland


TGV Lyria, which is jointly operated by Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) and Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF), will have several trains circulating both ways between Switzerland and France: Geneva and Paris, Lausanne and Paris, Basel-Zurich and Paris, and Geneva and Marseille.

These are some of the connections:

  • TGV 9764 depart Geneva 08:29 am, arrive Paris Gare de Lyon 11:42 am
  • TGV 9768 depart Lausanne 09 :44, arrive Paris Gare de Lyon 13:42
  • TGV 9770 depart Geneva 12 :30 pm, arrive Paris Gare de Lyon 15 :42
  • TGV 9230 depart Zurich 17 :34, arrive Paris Gare de Lyon 21:38
  • TGV 9230 depart Basel 18 :34, arrive Paris Gare de Lyon 22 :38



Trains between Switzerland and Italy will also run, with two pairs of EuroCity trains operating on the Gotthard axis and two pairs on the Simplon axis.

  • • EC 313 depart Zurich 07:10, arrive Milan 10:50 am
  • • EC 316 depart Milan 11:10, arrive Zurich 2:50 pm
  • • EC 34 depart Milan 13:05, arrive Geneva 5:21 pm
  • • EC 37 depart Geneva 07:39, arrive Milan 11:40 am
  • • EC 50 depart Milan 07:20, arrive Basel 11:32 am
  • • EC 57 depart Basel 12:28, arrive Milan 4:40 pm

READ MORE: Travel in Switzerland: Geneva airport launches more Christmas flights


More than 35 trains are running daily between Switzerland and Germany.

High-speed trains connect Zurich, Basel and Bern to Berlin, Munich, Köln, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart.

  • EC97 depart Zurich 07:03 am, arrive Munich 11:04
  • IR2366 depart Zurich 10:53, arriverFrankfurt 15:08
  • IC764 depart Basel 9:53 am, arrive Berlin 17:27
  • IC984 depart Bern 20:04, arrive Stuttgart 00:21 am


There are also 18 daily trains running between Zurich and the Austrian cities of Vienna, Innsbruck, Salzburg, and Graz.

  • EC163 depart Zurich 08 :40 am, arrive Innsbruck 12:11, and Vienna 16:30
  • RJX367 depart Zurich 16:40, arrive Salzburg 22:06

International rules

Whether travelling abroad by air, rail, or car, be aware of most recent regulations and restrictions that are in effect at your destination.

First, familiarise yourself with the health measures in each country, such as mask and social distance requirements. 

Also, learn about entry rules at the time of your trip.

Some countries require you to be tested for Covid-19 prior to arrival and present a negative result. Others have a compulsory quarantine.

Switzerland also requires arrivals from certain countries to self-quarantine for 10 days.