Geneva Station is the third busiest station in Switzerland and a major railway hub in the Swiss Canton of Geneva. Direct trains zip back and forth between here and Geneva Airport in just under 10 minutes and other departures connect Geneva to Switzerland’s other major cities as well as to neighboring France. This station is run by the Swiss national railway company, SBB, but train buffs will be pleased to know that French SNCF trains and joint services by both companies also run from here.
A word on the name: Geneva Station (Gare de Genève) is also known locally as “Geneva-Cornavin Station” (Gare de Genève-Cornavin) or simply as “Cornavin Station” (Gare de Cornavin). This name is taken from the surrounding Cornavin district. It is a very convenient location, being just ten minutes’ walking distance from Lake Geneva, surrounded by hotels and commercial facilities, and well-connected to the rest of the city by tram and bus links just outside the station. This article will introduce the general layout of Geneva Station, so you can easily access ticket machines, the departure schedule, the railway information center, and the platforms where you will catch your train. More detailed information on shops, restaurants, luggage storage, and other facilities at Geneva station will be included in a separate article. First of all though, let’s take a look at a map of the station interior.
Geneva Train Station Map
You can find maps just like this near all the station entrances which will help you find your way around. Or you can download it in advance from the SBB website. However, this is not a huge station, so you really don’t need to worry about getting lost. Here’s a quick French-English glossary to help you read the map:
Niveau voies = Platform level
Entresol = Mezzanine
Rez-de-chaussée = Ground floor
Aile ouest = West Wing
Aile est = East Wing
The front of the station faces south-east onto a large open square, called Place de Cornavin, where there is a taxi rank and many bus and tram stops. Bus and tram stops can also be found at the rear of the station building and under the railway viaduct on the southern side of the building.
The station building has three main sections: a Central Hall, a West Wing (Aile Ouest), and an East Wing (Aile Est), and these three sections are connected by a long central passage that runs the length of the building.
The station can be entered from five different locations. There are two entrances at the front of the building: the main entrance that leads into the Central Hall, and a north-eastern entrance that leads into the East Wing.
There are also two entrances at the rear of the building: an entrance at Place de Montbrillant which leads into the West Wing, and an entrance at Place du Reculet which leads into the East Wing.
There is also a small side entrance under the railway viaduct on the southern side of the building that leads into the West Wing.
This station has three levels above ground: the ground floor where most passengers enter the building, a mezzanine level (called the Entresol) which you can access from the East Wing, and a third level where you can find the platforms. Platforms can be accessed directly from the West Wing or via the mezzanine level from the East Wing. There is also a small underground shopping center, called Galerie Metroshopping, which can be accessed from either the West Wing or the East Wing, and which leads out onto Rue du Mont-Blanc on the opposite side of Place de Cornavin.
The Central Hall is the historic heart of the station. The station building as a whole underwent extensive renovation between 2010 and 2014, but this part of the station dates back to 1929, and is very well-preserved. Of particular interest are the old-fashioned maps of Europe and of Switzerland which decorate the walls on either side of the hall.
The West Wing of the station provides direct access to the platforms via escalators and wheelchair-friendly slopes. However, there are also a number of shops here, most notably a large branch of the Coop supermarket.
The East Wing is a large, modern section with two sets of escalators leading to the mezzanine level. For platforms 2-8 take the escalators directly opposite the north-eastern entrance. For platform 1 take the escalators to the right. Luggage lockers are located on the ground floor between the two sets of escalators, while on the mezzanine level you can find a variety of shopping and dining facilities.
The central passage that runs through the length of the building connects the West Wing, Central Hall, and East Wing. You can find the railway information center here, between the Central Hall and the East Wing.
Ticket machines can be found in every part of the station. These machines are operated by touch screens and are very easy to use with language options in German, French, Italian, and English.
We recommend buying your tickets in advance, however, as you can get much cheaper deals with “supersaver tickets” that you can buy online from the SBB website, or with the SBB Mobile app. A variety of travel cards are also available that may be worth investing in if you are planning to travel in Switzerland for some time.
Screens showing departures and arrivals can be easily found in the West Wing, Central Hall, and East Wing. It’s a good idea to check these screens before heading to your platform, in case there is a delay or the scheduled platform has been changed. Remember that “Voie” means track, so if your train is at Voie 6, head for platform 6.
For more detailed information about the departure schedule or finding your way around the station ask at the information stand which is located in the passage that runs between the Central Hall and the East Wing.
Directly behind the information stand is the SBB information center and ticket office where you can make inquiries about tickets, travel cards and purchase the same. Most railway staff here can speak English, but to be polite you may want to start your inquiry with “Bonjour! Vous parlez Anglais?” (Good day! Do you speak English?).
When you enter the SBB information center, take a numbered ticket and wait for your number to appear on a screen before heading to one of the counters. English speaking staff just inside the entrance can help you if you don’t know what to do.
You can also find some railway-themed souvenirs in this office.
Platforms & Departures
This station has 8 platforms. You can check the platform for your train on the SBB website, but sometimes platforms are changed at the last minute so its a good idea to check the departure information screens when you arrive at the station. Each platform also has multiple information screens showing the next departure.
Key services departing from this station include:
- trains for Geneva Airport which depart from platforms 2, 3, and 4. A mixture of services connect the station to the airport and depart every few minutes, taking under 10 minutes to reach their destination.
- Leman Express commuter services linking the Canton of Geneva with destinations in nearby regions of France. These trains mostly run from platforms 1 and 2.
- RegioExpress (RE) services which run from platforms 3, 4, and 6 serving destinations such as Annemasse in France and Lausanne, Nyon, Saint Maurice, Sion, and Vevey in Switzerland.
- InterRegio (IR) services running to Brig, Le Châble VS, Lausanne, Lucerne, and Sion. These trains run from platforms 4 and 6.
- EuroCity (EC) international services which connect Geneva with the Italian cities of Milan and Venice. These trains run from platforms 4 and 6.
- TGV (Train à grande vit) high speed services jointly run by the national railways of France (SNCF) and Switzerland (SBB). French destinations are Paris-Gare-de-Lyon and Marseille-Saint-Charles. These trains depart from platforms 7 and 8.
- TER (Train Express Regional) SNCF services bound for destinations in France including Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, and Bellegarde. These trains depart from platforms 7 and 8.
Platform 1 is a single platform. Most trains departing from Platform 1 are Leman Express services which have returned from France and are bound for the Swiss town of Coppet via Genève-Sécheron and Chambésy. However, there are also some Leman Express services departing from this platform that are bound for Annecy in France.
Platforms 2 and 3 form an island platform.
Platform 2 has a large number of Leman Express services bound for France. These French destinations include Annecy, Annemasse, Cluses, Évians-les-Bains, Saint-Gervais-les-Bains-Le Fayet, and Thonon-les-Bains.
Platform 3 has mostly RegioExpress services for Annemasse, Lausanne, and Vevey. Both platforms 2 and 3 also have regular departures for Geneva Airport.
Platform 4, 5, and 6 form an island platform with platforms 4 and 6 on opposite sides of the island and Platform 5 at the southern end of the island.
Platform 4 has InterRegio services bound for Brig, Lucerne, and Sion; InterCity services for Zürich HB, Saint Gallen, and Rorschach; and one EuroCity service a day for Venezia Santa Lucia (via Milano Centrale). Platform 4 also has regular departures for Geneva Airport.
Platform 5 has local Leman Express services bound for La Plaine via Vernier and Meyrin.
Platform 6 has RegioExpress services bound for Nyon, Saint Maurice, Sion, and Vevey; InterRegio services bound for Brig, Le Châble VS, Lausanne, Lucerne, and Sion; InterCity services for Saint Gallen and Rorschach (via Zürich HB); and EuroCity services for Milano Centrale.
Platforms 7 and 8 form an island platform. There are customs and immigration offices at the entrance to these platforms, because most of the trains departing here are SNCF services bound for France and this area of the station constitutes a “French sector”. To enter these platforms you must have a valid ticket and also your passport or other ID.
Trains departing from platforms 7 and 8 include TGV services for Lausanne, Paris-Gare-de-Lyon, and Marseille-Saint-Charles (via Lyon and Avignon), and TER services for Bellegarde, Grenoble, Lyon-Part-Dieu, and Valence Ville.