CEVA rail

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CEVA (Cornavin - Eaux Vives -Annemasse)
Type Commuter
System SNCF and CFF
Status Cornavin to Pont Rouge and Eaux-Vives to Annemasse: Open; Pont Rouge to Eaux-Vives Planned
Locale Switzerland (Canton Geneva) and France (Haute Savoie)
Termini Gare de Cornavin, Geneva
Opening 1888 (link to be completed in 2017)
Owner Swiss Federal Railways
Operator(s) Swiss Federal Railways
Line length 14.1 km (8.8 mi)
No. of tracks Double track
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 15 kV 16.67 Hz
Route map
to Lausanne
15.8 Gare de Genève-Cornavin
to Geneva Airport
to Bellegarde and Lyon
Saint-Jean (222 m)
la Jonction (Rhône) (218 m)
la Bâtie (1078 m)
11.8 Lancy-Pont-Rouge
10.4 Carouge-Bachet
Val d'Arve
7.1 Champel-Hôpital
5.594 Genève-Eaux-Vives
4.946 Grange-Canal (360 m)
3.681 Seymaz (12 m)
3.405 Chêne-Bourg
Swiss-French border
2.002 Foron (7 m)
0.990 Ambilly
to Annecy, St-Gervais
and Bellegarde
172.715 Annemasse
to Evian

CEVA is the name given to a project to connect the main Swiss railway line into Geneva from the rest of Switzerland to the at present isolated link out of Geneva Eaux Vives station to Annemasse Haute-Savoie, (France). CEVA is the acronym of "Cornavin – Eaux-Vives – Annemasse".

The project is to build the remaining section of an outer ring link connecting Geneva, (Cornavin station) with Annemasse running through Geneva's west, south and south eastern suburbs. It will enhance the public transport network of the Geneva region, which increasingly over the years has become a trans-frontier conurbation, with thousands of cross-border daily commuters travelling to and fro between the Geneva area and surrounding regions of France. It will link the CFF route Lausanne – Geneva Cornavin – Geneva Airport and the SNCF route Geneva Cornavin – Bellegarde-sur-Valserine – Lyon with lines in the Haute Savoie serving Thonon-les-Bains, Évian-les-Bains, the valley of the Arve to St Gervais and Chamonix and from Annemasse to Annecy.[1]

The origins of the project go back to 1850. In 1888 the Eaux-Vives to Annemasse line was opened. At Eaux Vives, the abutments were built for a bridge across the main road on the alignment of the proposed link round to Cornavin. This Geneva ring was part of a proposed new link to the Simplon route to Italy, using a direct route from Paris and Dijon under the Jura mountains via the Faucille tunnel to Geneva, round the 'CEVA' route and along the south side of Lake Geneva to St Maurice. This was never realised due to competition from the Vaud canton which succeeded in keeping the Dijon – Vallorbe – Lausanne – St Maurice route as the main Simplon line to Italy.

However, in 1949 the first section of the ring was built, connecting Cornavin Station to a large new freight marshalling yard at La Praille, but was used only for freight. At present the Eaux-Vives – Annemasse line remains an isolated shuttle served by SNCF trains, although the line is legally the 'Geneva State Railway' (Chemin de Fer de l'Etat de Genève).

After numerous false starts over a century, the ring line project was 'reborn' in the 1990s and a passenger service was introduced on the La Praille line as far as Lancy-Pont-Rouge station, opened on 19 December 2002 and is the present terminus for the regional trains coming from Coppet in Vaud, after passing through Geneva's Cornavin station. Pont Rouge acts as an interchange to the Geneva tram route 15.[2]

The first official CEVA project work was undertaken in the last two years, and consisted of widening Cornavin station on its south side, to allow room for a platform for use by CEVA trains. This entailed the wholesale moving of a historic listed building by a few metres.

Approval of the plans by the Federal Office of Transport was given on 5 May 2008, but opponents brought the case to court. The Federal Administrative Court rejected the plea in June 2011 [3] but the opponents also took the last step, going to the Federal Court.

On 28 March 2012, the Federal Administrative Court rejected all remaining objections, thus concluding the legal process and allowing the works to proceed freely [4]


Railways in Geneva. CEVA is shown in red

Upon completion a continuous railway route will run from Cornavin Station via La Praille, Bachet-de-Pesay, over the river Arve, in tunnel under the commune of Champel, and on past Eaux-Vives, underground to Annemasse, if a financing for the French part of the new infrastructure can be found.

The CEVA project consists of four principal sectors:[5]

  1. Between Cornavin station and Bachet-de-Pesay : the CFF line (which has existed since 1949) between Cornavin and Gare de la Praille will be refurbished.
  2. Between Bachet-de-Pesay and the Gare des Eaux-Vives: a new CFF line will be built which will cross the river Arve by means of a bridge then run under the commune of Champel by means of a tunnel.
  3. Between Gare des Eaux-Vives and the Swiss-French border : the single-track SNCF line which has existed since 1888 will be removed and a new double-track underground line will be built covering the same route as the existing above ground line.
  4. Between the border and Annemasse : the single-track SNCF line which has been in place since 1888 should be upgraded. However, until now neither the owner RFF nor French authorities have made a step towards financing and realizing this part of the line.

Project Progress[edit]

As of 2012, the Eaux-Vives station has closed and the disused Chêne-Bourg station has been reopened. Rail services terminate at Chêne-Bourg, and a spur of the tram line between the centre and Moillesulaz has been built to pick up train passengers. A substitute bus service from Annemasse to Eaux-Vives is also running.[6]


  1. ^ Transport policy on a regional scale on the site of the CEVA.]
  2. ^ Inauguration of halt CFF of Lancy-Pont-Rouge on the FAO of January 10, 2003.
  3. ^ Media release 16 June 2011 of the Federal Administrative Court
  4. ^ Défaite sans appel des opposants au CEVA Tribune de Genève, 28 March 2012 (in French).
  5. ^ Infrastructures CFF
  6. ^ http://www.snotpg.ch/site/chantiers/ceva/ unofficial TPG website CEVA section

External links[edit]