40 years of train services between France and Switzerland

To mark the 40th anniversary of the launch of the first international train service between France and Switzerland, we are retelling the story of this beautiful historic route, which now allows you to travel between these two countries quickly and in comfort.

This is also an opportunity to celebrate the Franco-Swiss rail links which allowed the TGV Lyria to come into being.

40 years in images

Discover the historic route of the Franco-Swiss rail links on video, too.

7 September 1981

First TGV, first Paris <> Geneva service

On day one, alongside the first commercial service between Paris and Lyon, the SNCF launched the TGV service between Paris and Geneva!

The journey time between the two cities was now 4 hours 15 minutes rather than 5 hours 49 minutes.

The occupancy rate on daily return services between Paris and Geneva was 87%. The number of single-coach trains needed was halved by the end of the week.

2 dual voltage TGVs // 4 hours 15 minutes // 130 km per hour

22 January 1984

Inauguration of the Paris <> Lausanne line

It was now possible to travel between Paris and Lausanne, some 430 km, in just 3 hours and 45 minutes. By February 1984, daily passenger numbers had reached 7,000 on average, matching figures for the Paris <> Geneva line! 4 triple voltage TGVs // 4 hours 45 minutes // 107 km per hour

23 April 2002

TGV Lyria came into existence

The limited company Lyria was a joint venture of SNCF and SBB. It took over the operations of the group of shared economic interest TGV France Suisse and was to run all commercial TGV services between the two countries.

In 2005, the Paris–Geneva service was added to the TGV Lyria brand.


Creation of a bi-national crew

TGV Lyria introduced a Franco-Swiss crew to provide passenger services on-board all of its trains.


Creation of three travel classes

Launch of a new range of services, TGV Lyria,

With three travel classes: STANDARD, STANDARD 1ERE and BUSINESS 1ERE.

December 2019

Launch of Lyria 2020

Double-decker coaches, free wifi, a wider range of services, clock-face scheduling and new services were launched as a response to the increase in travel between France and Switzerland.

Not to mention BUSINESS 1ERE and a catering with a signature menu by the Michelin-starred chef Michel Roth.

June 2021

Environmental impact study

Produced by the independent Swiss firm INFRAS, a life-cycle study of five means of transport between France and Switzerland confirmed that, of these, TGV Lyria is (by far) the most environmentally-friendly.


40 years of success and progress

Against the backdrop of a global pandemic, TGV Lyria is constantly adapting to the restrictions so as to continue to support its passengers.

Some four decades after the first Paris <> Geneva service, TGV Lyria is the leading provider of transport services between Paris and Switzerland.

The brand embodies the modernity of rail travel in the context of climate emergency and increasing travel requirements.

TGV Lyria also has a strong online presence

In 2005, our first website was born before being overhauled in 2008, then optimised in 2014 and 2019.

A customer service chatbot was developed in 2018.

TGV Lyria also has: 

85,000 Facebook fans, 10,000 Instagram followers, 8,000 Twitter and LinkedIn followers and 100 YouTube videos

So, follow us!

TGV Lyria speed evolution