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Change of train at Basel

Old Feb 14th, 2009, 08:38 AM
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Change of train at Basel

Hi,
I am planning to travel from Lucerne to Paris via Basel.

Will it be a change of station or a different platform withing the same station.

How much time must i allow for the change over.

With a Schengen Visa will i be required to go through passport control in Basel.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 08:49 AM
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"Will it be a change of station or a different platform withing the same station."

Kind of both. There are two stations, Basel SNCF (French Rail) and Basel SBB (Swiss Rail) next to each other (inline, actually). It used to be that trains came into Basel SNCF, passengers got off, went through passport control between the two stations, the train moved down the tracks into the SBB station, and the passengers got back on. Or, in my case, I came in from Germany, and the Swiss border guards got on at Freiberg and check passports on the train. By the time we got to Basel, we were already cleared.

I believe Switzerland is now a part of the Schengen zone, so there will not be any passport control or customs.

Sometimes there is a change of trains in Basel; some trains go right through.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 09:06 AM
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There are no direct trains from Lucerne to Paris that do not require a switch somwehere.

There is no passport check in Basel, coming or going.

Are you taking the TGV from Basel? It has its own tracks in the Swiss half of the station, called Basel SBB.

In case you are taking another train, one that departs from the French half of the station - that is adjacent, you simply walk through a couple of passages, following the signs - no big deal.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 12:05 PM
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Whether or not you must leave one train for another, it is a simple matter in Basel and you will not be alone in doing so.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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If you have 10 minutes between trains, you will have enough time, but if you are traveling over rush hour and have a lot of luggage, I suggest 15 so you don't feel pressed.

The Basel station has gotten very busy since its renovation and expansion. At times, it takes us a couple of minutes longer to get from one track to another than it used to.

Early this evening for example, there was a big mob of people clustered around the escalators that take you down to the front entrance of the train station...we decided to avoid the crowds, take the back way out onto Guterstrasse and catch a tram there.

However, if you have never been to Basel, then come early, store your luggage, and explore the old part of the city for a few hours.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 01:44 PM
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I made that connection in 2006 and had plenty of time although not enough time to leave the station. We stopped and bought sandwiches and then proceeded over to the French side. There were arrows pointing to passport control but no one was there and we proceeded right on through. We were on a slow train from Basel to Paris. We entered Switzerland through Geneva and we did have to go through passport control coming into the country.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 08:59 PM
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Barbara, that was then, this is now. Switzerland has joined the Schengen agreement - no more passport checks you'll be pleased to find out on your next visit.
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Old Feb 14th, 2009, 09:28 PM
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I did this last August. Even before Switzerland entered Schengen zone then, there was no passport control. The SBB and the TGV were few tracks apart. I had to go to the main station only because I had to buy a TGV ticket at the SBB ticket window. Even so, I was able to change from the SBB train to the TGV in 15min with time to buy the ticket.

The overpass you use at SBB Basel to change tracks is near the front half of the train as it pulls into the Basel station.
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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 12:16 AM
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jalmd:

Since direct TGV services (4 per day) started, there is no need to change stations at Basel. Since Switzerland joined the Schengen accords last year, there are no regular passport checks. Customs check (generally rather perfunctory) will be made on board the TGV between Basel and Mulhouse.

If, as I suppose, you are taking an intercity train from Lucerne to Basel leaving 54 minutes after the hour, and the TGV from Basel to Paris, you have 9 minutes to make the connection.

This is easily possible, as the train from Lucerne generally pulls in on platform 7 and the TGV either leaves from platform 8 opposite or from platform 11 (2 escalators away on the overpass). If you feel unsure, simply take an earlier train to add time at Basel (you might actually make a walk).

You will find the layput of the station at: http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/infra_services...sel-sbb-a4.pdf

In Lucerne, be sure to board slightly forward of the train's centre. This will ensure you have only a short walk to the escalator.

Hope this helps

Phil.
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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 08:41 AM
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I was in Basel last summer training to Stassbourg. As others have said there is not passport control but it can be confusing as you'll no doubt get to the platform via the "French Rail" end of the station. You go through double doors to a seperate waiting room and it appears that there may be passport control but there isn't. You just use this entrance to get to the TGVs. It's as easy as anything but appears to some there may be controls when there isn't.
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Old Feb 15th, 2009, 09:03 AM
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Chevre - last summer was different. Switzerland joined the Schengen agreement in December 08, things have changed since you were there.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2009, 02:19 AM
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Many thanks to all of you, it is valuable info and will be very helpful. Thanks again.
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