How to travel out of Switzerland multiple times with a Global Pass and avoid outbound/inbound journey?

  • 13 March 2023
  • 5 replies

I’m a resident of Switzerland (Zurich) and plan to travel in England and France during Sept. and Oct. but want to return to Switzerland 3 to 4 times in this period; one outbound/inbound journey is included in the pass which I can use at any time.

What I understand so far: to “save” the out/inbound journey I need to buy point-to-point tickets as explained here:

So if I take a train from Zurich SBB to Paris via Basel SBB but want to avoid the outbound journey then:

  1. I’d need to buy a ticket from Zurich SBB to Basel SBB (the “Grenzbahnhof”) and the journey from Basel SBB to Paris would then be covered by my Global Pass
  2. If I take the TGV from Zurich then I’d need to buy a point-to-ticket from Zurich to Basel SBB incl. a seat reservation PLUS a seat reservation from Basel SBB to Paris OR
  3. I could take a Swiss train from Zurich to Basel SBB and then get on the TGV in Basel SBB with my Global Pass plus seat reservation

Is my understanding correct?

Is Basel SBB a “Grenzbahnhof”?

Is there another (simpler) way around this?

I’ve seen questions/comments stating that the Rail Planner app doesn’t consider this in all cases so the journey needs to manually entered.


Best answer by BrendanDB 13 March 2023, 16:29

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5 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +7

3 will be your best option, although your aim should be to get in Mulhouse.

TGV Lyria has extortionate reservation fees, if you book from a Station in Switzerland (Basel included). Best travel to Mulhouse by TER, and continue there with the TGV you intended to take.

A guide how to do it best, and to reserve it, is found here:

If you do it step by step in the Rail planner app, Zürich - Basel, Basel - Mulhouse,… it should find the trains normally.

Thanks Brendan!

I still have a question re. Basel SBB: does it count as a “Grenzbahnhof” (i.e. SCNF fares apply out to France) or not?

This is the link I found where it is listed as such:


Userlevel 7
Badge +7

Normally yes. You can take trains from Basel to abroad.

But if you’ll plan to take the TGV Lyria from there, you’ll find that the horrendous seat reservation prices still count ( 37 EUR in 2nd class and 70 EUR in 1st!, you can book an ordinary ticket with that!).

From Mulhouse it’s only 10 (or 20) EUR, even if you take the TGV Lyria.

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

If you run into trouble when entering the journey, you just need to enter the journey manually with Basel and France as country.

Userlevel 7
Badge +9

Yes, SNCF network tickets have always been valid to Basel SBB. I don't know how it is currently handled in the app. If you enter a journey from Basel SBB and the app asks you to activate an inbound/outbound journey, then it still handles this case incorrectly and you should enter the train from Basel SBB and then place Basel SBB in France. With a paper pass, there's no problem: you just enter Basel SBB-Mulhouse on your trip report.