CEVA Rail Link
The CEVA Rail Link (Cornavin-Eaux-Vives-Annemasse) is an orbital rail line designed to connect the Canton of Geneva with the Swiss and French railway networks. Part of the Mobility 2030 Master Plan of Swiss Canton Geneva, which aims to enhance metropolitan transport systems and intermodal links, the project got underway in November 2011.
Construction officially began on the CEVA link in January 2012 with approximately 14km of the 16km railway link running through Switzerland. The remaining 2km of link will run through France with the whole link connecting the Cornavin area of Geneva and Annemasse in France.
The 14km of Swiss railway line can be divided into two parts. Approximately 4km of existing infrastructure needs to be adapted to the new standards and approximately 10km of new rail infrastructure, 80% of which are underground, includes two tunnels and several cut-and-cover tunnels. Along this 10km line, five new stations will be built; two new bridges and the Viaduc de la Jonction will be adapted. As well as this work, above the main cut-and-cover tunnel part of CEVA, a greenway will take place on the ancient railway track.
The CEVA Link has a long history, with the first agreement regarding the creation of the railway link between the French and the Swiss railway through Geneva originally signed in 1881. Part of this agreement was inaugurated in 1888, linking Annemasse to Eaux-Vives. In 1912, another agreement between the Canton of Geneva and the Helvetic Confederation was signed for the construction of the rest of the route. Unfortunately, due to the First World War the project was postponed.
At the end of the 1940s, a second part was built between Cornavin and Pont-Rouge. The project was then relaunched in 2000 with a new agreement signed in 2002. With a ground breaking ceremony taking place to mark the next phase of the project in November 2011, the grand opening of the project is planned for December 2019 but further delays are possible.
The new network created, thanks to CEVA’s construction, will be called “Leman Express” and will be operated through 43 stations. It is expected that the new rail link will meet the projected increase in the need for public transport in Geneva by 2020. The population within a radius of 40km of Geneva is approximately 910,000 and is projected to rise to around 1.1 million by 2020. CEVA will also create the biggest cross border rail network in Europe with an expected 50,000 passengers projected in 2020.
Caroline Monod, a spokesperson for the project commented: “My role has been to support the project defining the communication and information policy toward the residents, the politics and more widely the public living in the Greater Geneva region. Being able to help the CEVA realisation has been a real pleasure and honour as I am personally convinced that it will deeply transform the travel patterns of the Greater Geneva inhabitants.”