CEVA rail

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  • CEVA
  • Cornavin‒Eaux Vives‒Annemasse
Railways around Geneva. CEVA shown in red
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
Opened 1888; 1949; 2019
Owner Swiss Federal Railways
Operator(s) Swiss Federal Railways
Line length 14.1 km (8.8 mi)
Number 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 (Cornavin‒Eaux-Vives‒Annemasse) is an orbital rail line, currently under construction, designed to connect the main Gare de Cornavin railway station of Geneva (Switzerland) on the north of Lake Geneva with Gare d'Annemasse in Annemasse (France), to the south of Lake Geneva. When completed, the link will allow through running between the main Swiss rail network and the isolated line east of Annemasse in Haute-Savoie, which was served until 2013 by French SNCF services. A new station is under construction on the route at Gare des Eaux-Vives and the line between this station and the border is being replaced with a double track line in tunnel. Track already exists as far as Stade de Genève station and based on the current state of the work the full route might open in December 2019.[1]


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.[2]

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.

A contract of 1912 between the Confederation and the canton said that each partner would pay one third of construction costs of CEVA and SBB a further third.

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. Until 2013 the Eaux-Vives – Annemasse line remained an isolated shuttle served by SNCF trains, although the line (infrastructure) was legally the Geneva State Railway (French: 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 which 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.[3]

The first official CEVA project work was undertaken in the last two years,[year needed] 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 [4] 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.[5]

CEVA line will be electrified with the Swiss 15 kV 16.7 Hz including a track to one of the Annemasse platforms. To simplify electrification situation in the Geneva area, the portion between Genève-Cornavin and Bellegarde was changed from 1500 V DC to 25 kV 50 Hz AC in Summer 2014.


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:[6]

  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 Réseau Ferré de France (RFF, now SNCF Réseau) 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 until 1 April 2013, when all train services stopped to allow construction to start. A substitute bus service from Annemasse to Eaux-Vives is running.[7]


  1. ^ "Le chantier du CEVA à Genève prend deux ans de retard". rts.ch. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Transport policy on a regional scale". CEVA website. 
  3. ^ "Inauguration of halt CFF of Lancy-Pont-Rouge". Geneva FAO. 10 January 2003. 
  4. ^ Media release 16 June 2011 of the Federal Administrative Court
  5. ^ "Défaite sans appel des opposants au CEVA" (in French). Tribune de Genève. 28 March 2012. 
  6. ^ "SBB: Der grösste Bahnhof der Schweiz". sbb.ch. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "CEVA" (unofficial TPG website CEVA section). 

External links[edit]