GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – It will be 8 years before construction work begins on an underground extension of Geneva’s Cornavin train station, but the CHF1.6 billion project now has funding.
The three levels of government involved and the CFF rail company signed a basic framework convention Monday 7 December that will add two underground tracks, a quai, a train wash (funde in part by the CFF) and a tunnel on the north side of the station.
Essential to new regional rail system
The extension is “essential” to the development of the new regional rail system that includes Geneva and Lausanne, says the Federal Transport Office in a press release:
“Increased capacity in the Geneva rail hub is one of the essential conditions in order to implement the Léman 2030 [regional rail] programme. The programme aims to progressively double seating capacity in the Lake Geneva region and to guarantee, medium-term, the development of the Léman Express and the Vaud RER [regional rail for canton Vaud].”
The federal government will bear the largest financial burden as part of its 2025 national rail programme, paying a little over CHF1 billion. Canton Geneva will cover CHF417 million and the city of Geneva just over CHF111 million. The federal figure takes into account a 30% margin for cost over-runs, “normal” at this stage of a project, Bern says in a press release.
The figures also cover related infrastructure work that will begin in 2019: parking tracks for trains in the direction of La Plaine and moving the existing train wash. Construction of the two new tracks and platform will start in 2024.
Geneva: 600 trains a day
The Geneva train station currently has 600 trains a day; once the Ceva rail project is completed, linking neighbouring France and the greater Geneva region, the train station will be operating at capacity and any additional rail traffic will require additional tracks. Early talks debated a cheaper option that would have involved demolishing homes in the Grotte area north of the station, but that solution ran into stiff opposition from locals.