ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Cornavin Station, Geneva: a major Swiss rail hub since 1858

Updated on March 16, 2017
Flag of Switzerland
Flag of Switzerland | Source
Geneva Station
Geneva Station | Source
Cornavin Station, Geneva, after renovation
Cornavin Station, Geneva, after renovation | Source
Arrival of a French TGV from Paris at Geneva-Cornavin station (Switzerland), on the special platforms reserved to French trains.
Arrival of a French TGV from Paris at Geneva-Cornavin station (Switzerland), on the special platforms reserved to French trains. | Source
Re4/4 II CFF, Cornavin Station, Geneva
Re4/4 II CFF, Cornavin Station, Geneva | Source
Arrival of the Simplon Express at Cornavin Station, Geneva. Circa 1906.
Arrival of the Simplon Express at Cornavin Station, Geneva. Circa 1906. | Source

Clean lines, and clean and efficient operations

Swiss railroads have a deserved reputation for punctuality and efficiency, and a major hub is Cornavin Station, Geneva (French: Gare de Genève-Cornavin). The Station is situated at Place de Cornavin, 1201, Geneva.

First opened in 1858 (1), its current main building dates from 1931.

The architect responsible for the building was Julien Flegenheimer (1880-1938), who with other architects also designed the Palais des Nations, Geneva (2), completed in 1938. The main frontage of the Station building is noted for its clean, geometric, neo-Classical lines (3). Interestingly, in its day its style was considered very 'modern', although this term has become subject to many qualifications in the intervening decades.

In fact, 'clean' would seem to be a leitmotif for the building: clean, stylistic lines and clean and efficient operations. When I travelled by train to Geneva Cornavin Station I was struck by how clean the Station and the train seemed. I understand that this impression is not an isolated one among visiting users of the Swiss rail network.

In addition to photos of exterior views of the main station building, I have supplied one (below) which shows an impressive mural map in the interior of the building. This striking mural is pleasing and accurate in many ways; on closer examination, it is clear that the countries which border Switzerland have all been named, with the exception of the Principality of Liechtenstein, the territory of which is indicated as supposedly being part of Austria!

As well as a photo of a Paris TGV Express, I have also supplied a photo of a red Swiss locomotive with the letters 'SBB - CFF' clearly written on its side; these letters stand for 'Schweizerische Bundesbahnen' and 'Chemins de fer fédéraux suisses' in German and French respectively ('Swiss Federal Railroads').

In addition I have supplied a photo, dating from circa 1906, of the Simplon Express arriving at Cornavin Station.

I must add another almost indefinable quality: when one emerges from Cornavin Station, Geneva, the cool mountain air adds an elusive sense of clarity (and even urgency?) to the atmosphere that greets the visitor.

March 16, 2017


(1) In 1858, a rail link with Lyons, France, was established. It is interesting that, when the original station was opened with this link to France, Geneva had been confederated with Switzerland for only 44 years.

(2) Now occupied by the UN, it was formerly the seat of the pre-World War Two League of Nations.

(3) See also (in French):

Geneva Station
Geneva Station | Source

Also worth seeing

In Geneva itself, a few of the outstanding visitor attractions are: St Peter's Cathedral, associated with John Calvin; the Mont-Blanc bridge and the famous water jet (French: Jet d'eau) on Lake Geneva (French: Lac Léman); the United Nations building; the University of Geneva building and the Reformers' Monument, among many others.

Ferney-Voltaire , France (distance: approx. 8 kilometres) has the castle in which the philosopher Voltaire once lived.


How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York, Newark to Geneva International Airport (Aéroport International de Genève ) at Grand-Saconnex, where car rental is available. The Swiss railroad company CFF maintains a service between Geneva Airport and the Downtown station of Genève-Cornavin . For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Aerial photo of Geneva, Cornavin Station, rue de Lausanne and Lake Geneva
Aerial photo of Geneva, Cornavin Station, rue de Lausanne and Lake Geneva | Source

Of interest

Phaidon Switzrland (A Phaidon cultural guide) (English and German Edition)
Phaidon Switzrland (A Phaidon cultural guide) (English and German Edition)

This is an outstandingly clear and well illustrated guide to Switzerland, with copious details. If it is not currently in print, it ought to be!



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)