What is the Leman Express? We’ve got all the answers for you…
The Leman Express service started on 15 December 2019. It’s the new cross-border train service linking Geneva with Haute Savoie. The main hub in France is Annemasse train station, where four of six new Leman Express train lines will go to. There will be up to six trains an hour, with onward direct trains at a lower frequency to Evian, Annecy and Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet.
Is the Leman Express a brand new train line?
Partly. The name ‘CEVA’ (Cornavin-Eaux-Vives-Annemasse) refers to the 16km of new train track (including 2km in France) that has been constructed between Geneva’s Cornavin main station and Annemasse to handle the new Leman Express trains. As well as many tunnels, viaducts and embankments, there are five brand new train stations in outer Geneva: Lancy Pont Rouge, Lancy Bachet, Geneve Champel, Geneve Eaux Vives and Chene Bourg.
Who is the Leman Express aimed at?
With train journeys from Annemasse to Geneva Cornavin taking just 22 minutes, the Leman Express will revolutionise the journey for those commuting from Annemasse. With the five new stations in outer Geneva, those living in the perimeter areas of the city get direct train access into the centre.
Is Leman Express the same as the Tram to Annemasse?
No. The tram is a separate project. The existing tram line 12 to the border at Moillesulaz is being extended to Annemasse. The first phase, with four new stops all on the French side, is due to open on the 15 December 2019. The tram will terminate at Villa du Parc/Parc Montessult by the Mairie in Annemasse. By 2020, the tram will continue on to Lycee de Glieres, where they will be a huge Park and Ride. The journey from Annemasse Villa du Parc to the border at Moillesulaz will take just seven minutes and it’ll be 25-minutes to Geneva Cornavin.
How will the Leman Express to Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet work?
The L3 Leman Express train line will run direct from Geneva Cornavin to Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet, at the bottom of the Chamonix Valley, where it will link up with the existing Mont Blanc Express train terminus.
How easy will it be to get from Geneva Airport to Chamonix with the Leman Express?
The journey involves three trains (two changes) and transfers on foot. On arrival at the airport, you will need to walk to the main CFF train station at the far end of the airport (allow 10-15mins with baggage).
All trains from Geneva Airport go via Geneva Cornavin main station and the journey takes six minutes. From here, you get on the L3 Leman Express to Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet. The journey will take around 1hr 30. At Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet, you change again to the Mont Blanc Express, which takes 48 minutes to get to Chamonix centre.
How often will the L3 Leman Express trains run direct to Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet?
The timetable is in planning stage, but for the time being it looks as though direct trains from Geneva Cornavin to Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet will run every two hours. Provisional timetables show departures from Cornavin at :32 the hour, starting at 06:32, then 08:32 and so on until 20:32, with the journey taking around 1.5hrs, plus train journey from the airport and the onward journey of 48 minutes on the Mont Blanc Express.
How much will it cost to get to Chamonix on the Leman Express?
Not all fares have been released yet, but a journey from Geneva Airport to Chamonix-Mont-Blanc via Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet (regional train from airport + Leman Express L3 + Mont Blanc Express) will cost in the region of 30-35€.
Is there a time limit on Leman Express tickets?
Yes. For the outer regions served by Leman Express it is 180minutes.
Will I be able to buy a through ticket from Geneva Airport to Chamonix?
The Leman Express Pass ticket will only cover up to Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet and you will need a Mont Blanc Express ticket for the journey from Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet to Chamonix. Details have yet to be released as to whether you can buy one through ticket for the whole journey from the train companies.
Where can I buy tickets?
Online with the French SNCF site or with the Swiss CFF site. Please note, Swiss and French rail travel cards aren’t valid on the longer Leman Express journeys that cross the border.
Is an airport transfer with Mountain Drop-offs from Geneva Airport cheaper than the Leman Express?
It’s about the same price, but don’t forget, your airport transfer from Mountain Drop-offs is direct from Arrivals at the airport with no changes. And you are taken right to the door of your accommodation anywhere in the Chamonix Valley, so no lugging your bags from the train station to where you’re staying or need to catch a local bus service.
Is a Mountain Drop-offs airport transfer from Geneva quicker than the Leman Express?
Yes. We allow typically around 1hr 30 for journeys from the airport to accommodation in Chamonix. The total journey by train (not including waiting times for train changes) is around 2hrs 30. And of course, once you’re in the transfer vehicle, you’ll be sitting comfortably all the way to your final destination, with no changes involved.
What are the advantages of an airport transfer from Mountain Drop-offs?
- On a transfer you pop your bags and skis/bike (carried free of charge) in the vehicle and away you go, all the way to your door. If you take the train, you will have to lug your bags through the airport to the airport train station, change trains at Geneva Cornavin and again at Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet
- Mountain Drop-offs transfers are scheduled around your flight arrival and departure times to minimise waiting. The direct Leman Express is every two hours, with the last train departing central Geneva at 20:32
- With Mountain Drop-offs the total journey time is around 1.5hrs, depending on your drop off or pick up point. And don’t forget, that is to where you’re staying, not just the centre of town. The total journey time by train (not including connection waiting times) is around 2hrs 30 from Geneva Airport to Chamonix centre
What are the advantages of the Leman Express?
- For commuters in the outer-lying areas of Geneva and those across the border in Annemasse, the advantages are huge. As of 15 December 2019, there will be both a tram and suburban train service direct into the heart of Geneva. Line 12 trams will depart very eight minutes and there will be up to six Leman Express trains from early in the morning to late at night serving Annemasse with lines L1, L2, L3 and L4
- Annemasse will become zone 210 of the greater Geneva area, with one ticket covering the ‘Tout Geneve’ zone 10 (buses, trams, suburban rail and the taxi boats). The Leman Pass, as it is known, will cost 4,90chf and is valid 90minutes on all modes of transport within zone 10 (‘tout Geneve’) which is excellent value for money
Of course, if you take the tram or Leman Express to Annemasse or any of the other stops on the Leman Express route to Saint Gervais les Bains le Fayet (such as Cluses or Sallanches), Mountain Drop-offs can pick you up, no problem.
Our secure, easy to use website is open 24/7 for online transfers bookings between Geneva Airport and Chamonix as well as many other popular ski resorts.