Léaz – Saint-Gingolph railway line

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Start of the closed part of the business near Évian-les-Bains
Start of the closed part of the business near Évian-les-Bains
Route number (SNCF) : 892 000
Course book route (SNCF) : 517 (Annemasse – Évian-les-Bains)
Route length: 89.87 km
Gauge : 1435 mm ( standard gauge )
Power system : 25 kV 50 Hz  ~
Maximum slope : 18 
Route - straight ahead
from Lyon
Blockstelle, Awanst, Anst etc.
139.49 Bif de Genève
139.80 Longeray - Léaz wedge station 382  m
to Genève
140.15 Viaduc de Longeray ( Rhone ; 182 m)
Kilometers change
140.34 System change from 1.5 kV to 25 kV by 2014
140.58 Entremont (330 m)
142.85 Chevrier - Vulben 426  m
Station, station
147.09 Valleiry 472  m
Station without passenger traffic
152.39 Viry 483  m
Bridge over watercourse (medium)
157.28 Aire (9 m)
Station, station
157.54 Saint-Julien-en-Genevois 461  m
Road bridge
158.49 A 401
160.93 Archamps - Collonges-sous-Salève 498  m
161.98 Le Bas-de-Collonges
Station without passenger traffic
165.92 Bossey - Veyrier 432  m
Bridge (medium)
167.29 A 40 (44 m)
Bridge (medium)
170.41 A 40 (39 m)
from Aix-les-Bains
170.49 Étrembières - Salève 409  m
170.65 Swiss stone pine (67 m)
from Eaux-Vives
Station, station
172.72 Annemasse 435  m
178.98 Saint-Cergues - Les Voirons 496  m
Stop, stop
182.53 Machilly 525  m
Stop, stop
186.60 Bons-en-Chablais 549  m
Stop, stop
192.96 Perrignier 530  m
196.15 Allinges - Mésinges 490  m
Bridge over watercourse (medium)
199.53 Viaduc de Marclaz (61 m)
Station, station
202.74 Thonon-les-Bains 436  m
Blockstelle, Awanst, Anst etc.
205.47 Connection to the Vongy industrial area
Bridge over watercourse (medium)
205.71 Dranse (45 m)
Blockstelle, Awanst, Anst etc.
206.34 Connection Evian
209.28 Amphion-les-Bains 413  m
211.37 Evian-les-Bains 411  m
212.57 Les Bains d'Evian 427  m
218.06 Lugrin - Tour-Round 384  m
221.83 Tunnel des Croisettes (218 m)
222.85 Meillerie 396  m
223.06 Tunnel de la Balme (806 m)
225.52 Viaduc du Locum (14 m)
227.00 Viaduc du Trélon (40 m)
228.92 Saint-Gingolph (France) 394  m
BSicon exSTR.svg
229.36 Viaduc de la Morge (34 m); France - Switzerland
BSicon exSTR.svg
Saint-Gingolph (Switzerland)
Route - straight ahead
to Saint-Maurice

The railway Léaz-Saint-Gingolph is an approximately 90-kilometer standard gauge electrified railway line in the French departments of Ain and Haute-Savoie in the region of Auvergne Rhône-Alpes and belongs to the state-owned rail infrastructure company Réseau Ferré de France (RFF).

On the section from Évian-les-Bains to the French-Swiss border , the railway is also known as the "Tonkin Line" along with the connecting Saint-Gingolph – Saint-Maurice line. The name goes back to the workers who were used to build the Tonkin Railway in Indochina and who would have found similar geological conditions there.


The line branches off in Léaz near Bellegarde-sur-Valserine from the Lyon – Genève railway line and initially crosses the Rhône via the Viaduc de Longeray . South of this it goes to Saint-Julien-en-Genevois . The next 25 kilometers to Machilly , the railway runs closely along the French-Swiss border. From there the train continues to Thonon-les-Bains on Lake Geneva . On the south bank of the lake, continue via Évian-les-Bains to the state border at Saint-Gingolph . The line is connected to the train to Saint-Maurice .

In Annemasse meet railway line Aix-les-Bains-Annemasse and the railway Eaux-Vives-Annemasse each other.


French-Swiss border at Saint-Gingolph (view towards France)
TER in Annemasse

The railway line was built by the Compagnie Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée (PLM) and opened in three stages. On August 30, 1880, the section from the Longeray-Léaz branch station to Thonon-les-Bains was opened. On June 1, 1882, the railway continued to Évian-les-Bains. The last opening concerned the section from Évian-les-Bains to the state border at Saint-Gingolph. An agreement for the creation of this piece was signed by the governments of the two countries on February 27, 1882, and opened on June 1, 1886 eight months late. At the same time, the Swiss Compagnie du Simplon extended its route to the border, so that continuous operation was possible from that day.

With the nationalization of the PLM, the line became the property of the French state railway SNCF on January 1, 1938 ; on the same day, passenger traffic between Évian-les-Bains and Saint-Gingolph in Valais was suspended. Freight traffic, on the other hand, continued across the border and was also maintained during the Second World War . At that time, the line was the only open rail link between France and Switzerland. In the first year after the war, special Red Cross trains with former prisoners and food ran to Avignon and Sète .

Until September 1972, the line was operated by steam locomotives , most recently primarily by the 141 R machines . After that, it was replaced by electric traction. Work on the electrification of the railway with 25 kilovolt 50 Hertz alternating current began a year earlier. In the winter of 1972/73, the SNCF and the Chambéry Customs Directorate recorded a turnover of 20,000 tons on the section from Évian-les-Bains towards Switzerland, with 19,000 tons being exported.

On April 8, 1979, as well as five years later, a special train operated on the section not served by passenger traffic. From 1986 to 1998 a special tourist train, the Rive Bleu Express , ran on the route. Two years after starting operations, the SNCF also ceased freight traffic west of Évian-les-Bains. With the abandonment of tourist traffic, the route began to slowly decline. The remaining, about 72 kilometers long section came into the possession of the RFF with the outsourcing of the rail infrastructure of the SNCF in 1997.

With the conversion of the route between Geneva and Bellegarde from 1500 volts DC to 25 kV AC on August 25, 2014, the system separation point at kilometer 140.34 has become superfluous.


After the cessation of traffic on the section from Évian-les-Bains to Saint-Gingolph, the local authorities initially pursued the conversion of this 17-kilometer section into a cycle path. In 2007, however, it was decided to rebuild the line. In 2009, the financing of the expansion of the route was secured, in which not only the Rhône-Alpes region but also the municipalities of Chablais and the Swiss cantons of Vaud and Valais will contribute to the costs. A cost-benefit analysis was previously positive. In 2011 the costs were estimated at 106 million euros and the work was planned for 2013 to 2015 but has not started due to the general financial situation. An association that is committed to putting the Saint-Gingolph – Evian line into operation under the name RER Sud Leman is now aiming for 2023.

The canton of Valais invested CHF 24 million to modernize the Swiss section. The RFF, however, took out a loan of 48 million euros to set up automatic signaling between Annemasse and Évian-les-Bains. With a view to the CEVA project, the section is to be equipped with the Swiss signaling system. In connection with the connection to Gare de Cornavin , this would create a rail route from Geneva to Martigny , which would avoid the detour via Lausanne and could considerably shorten the journey time in this relation.


The line is in operation to Évian-les-Bains and is served by the TER Rhône-Alpes . There is also a TGV connection from Paris to Annemasse on the weekends . In the winter season this will be extended via Thonon-les-Bains to Évian-les-Bains. There is also a connection in Annemasse towards Aix-les-Bains and Eaux-Vives . The transport of Evian mineral water plays an important role in freight transport .


  • Jean Chaintreau, Jean Cuynat, Georges Mathieu: Les Chemins de fer du PLM . Editions La Vie du Rail et La Régordanne, 1993.
  • Marc Gayda, André Jacquot, Patricia Laederich, Pierre Laederich: Histoire du réseau ferroviaire français . Editions de l'Ormet à Valignat, 1996.

Web links

Commons : Léaz – Saint-Gingolph railway  - album with images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. admin.ch: 0.742.140.334.92 "Agreement between Switzerland and France regarding the construction of a railway from Thonon to Bouveret via St-Gingolph" (de) , (fr)
  2. ^ Ligne du Tonkin: de St-Maurice à St-Gingolph. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on February 1, 2014 ; Retrieved February 5, 2010 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.vs.ch