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by train to and from Basel/Switzerland

An Introduction

A unique in depth, independent guide to travelling to and from Basel by train and using the primary stations in Basel.


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Trains TO Basel

Click the cities below for summaries of trains to Basel from these popular destinations:

We'll be adding more cities to the above list soon

Train Departures

Therebytrain.com's unique TRAIN DEPARTURE TIME GUIDE for at a glance information on trains from Basel TO other popular tourist destinations including Amsterdam; Baden Baden; Berlin; Cologne; London; Lucerne; Interlaken; Milan; Paris; Rome and Venice

Alternatively All train departures from Basel SBB/SNCF are listed on the D-Bahn online timetable HERE.

While All train departures from Basel (Bad Bahnhof) DB are also listed on the D-Bahn online timetableHERE

Click here for the therebytrain.com guide to using the D-Bahn timetable.

Why Go To Basel

Wikipedia guide to Basel
Good reasons for not only visiting Basel to change trains!

Exploring Switzerland by train from Basel.

Having a holiday in Basel may seem an odd choice of destination, it has its cultural attractions such as the the world renowned Kunstmuseum, but arguably the city does not have the picture-postcard setting of so many other Swiss towns/cities.

However, what makes Basel unique is the fact that it straddles France, Germany and Switzerland, so is a cultural melting point and therefore a good choice of destination for a once in a lifetime trip to Europe.
It's these cross border links that makes it such an important railway junction, with routes that bring must-see destinations in France, Germany and Switzerland within easy reach of Basel, allowing for multiple, fantastic day trips by train from the city.

Check into a hotel in Basel for a week and you won't have to constantly re-pack as you do on a touring holiday.
Virtually any hotel in the city is either within walking distance of the main Basel (SBB/SNCF) station, or on a tram route that operates to the station.

It's not possible to reserve seats on the local trains from Basel into France, or Germany and not necessary to reserve seats on trains to other Swiss destinations
If you're planning to only make comparatively short day trips by train from Basel there is no need to purchase a rail pass and you can also avoid booking online, you won't make savings in comparison to buying at the station and by purchasing at the station you'll also have the freedom to be spontaneous on the day of travel.

These destinations are amongst those that are easily accessible by trains from Basel;

Biel/Bienns (SB), Colmar(CF), Freiburg (DB), Lucerne (SB), Mulhouse (CF), Neuchatel (SB) and Strasbourg (CF)

SB = trains depart from the SBB part of Basel train station;
CF= trains to France that depart from the SNCF (French) part of Basel's main station;
DB = local trains depart from the DB station in the German part of the city,
also for ICE trains that ALSO depart from the SBB station in addition to the DB station.

Exploring the Swiss Tourist Railways From Basel

The rail connections from baselalso make the city a good base for exploring most of Switzerland by train.
If you're considering using a Swiss Pass, or InterRail pass to explore Switzerland by - or are travelling through the country using a Eurail or InterRail 'Global Pass', but want to mimimize the number of times you have to change overnight accommodation, Basel is an ideal location to spend a couple of nights (staying in Basel can also be a cheaper option than the picture/post card cities of Switzerland).

These itineraries below will take you across the most spectacular railway routes of Switzerland from Basel on Swiss Mountain Railways, there is no need to reserve in advance for any of the trains,and connections between trains are virtually guaranteed by the Swiss timetable.
Each one of them is a contender for the 'Most Incredible Day Trip by Train on the planet', and if you spend time in Basel you can experience all four of these truly incredible journeys.
You can also use a Eurail, InterRail or Swiss Pass to travel on virtually all of these trains (InterRail passes cannot be used on one of the lines).

Itinerary 1 - The MGB/ZB ('Golden Pass') lines from Basel:

  • Train 1 - 10:03 ICN train from Basel (SBB) to Lausanne
  • Train 2 - 12:03 IR train from Lausanne to Montreux
  • Train 3 - 13:45 'Golden Pass Classic' train from Montreux to Zweisimmen (conveys restaurant car)
  • Train 4 - 15:38 'Golden Pass Panoramic' train from Zweisimmen to Interlaken OST (conveys observation cars)
  • Train 5 - 17:04 'Golden Pass Panoramic' train from Interlaken OST to Lucerne/Luzern (conveys observation cars)
  • Train 6 - 19:41 ICN train from Lucerne/Luzern to Basel (SB) -arrives Basel at 20:55 (conveys restaurant car)

Itinerary 2 - The Rhb ('Albula') lines from Basel:

  • Train 1 - 08:47 IR train from Basel (SBB) to Chur
  • Train 2 - 11:58 Rhb train from Chur to Samedan (The Albula Line)
  • Train 3 - 14:08 Rhb train from Samedan to Scuol Tarasp
  • Train 4 - 15:40 Rhb train from Scuol-Tarasp to Landquart
  • Train 5 - 17:19 IC train from Landquart to Basel, arrives Basel SBB 19:27 (conveys restaurant car)

Itinerary 3 - The MGB/Rhb lines from Basel (central part of route of The Glacier Express) AND the Lotschberg Pass:

  • Train 1 - 08:47 IR train from Basel (SBB) to Chur
  • Train 2 - 11:56 Rhb train from Chur to Disentis/Muster
  • Train 3 - 14:14 MGB* train from Disentis/Muster to Amdermatt
  • Train 4 - 15:37 MGB* train from Andermatt to Brig
  • Train 5 - 17:36 local/RE train from Brig to Spiez (3 mins to make the connection - or take the 18:39 train from Brig and a later train from Spiez to Basel
  • Train 6 - 18:54 IC train from Spiez to Basel (SBB), arrives Basel (SBB) at 20:29 (conveys restaurant car) - sit on the right for the best views

*= Swiss Pases are valid on MGB trains, InterRail 'Youth Pass' holders can obtain a 50% discount, InterRail Adult Pass holders do not qualify for a discount on these trains.

Itinerary 4 - The 'Centovallina'/F.A.R.T line , The Gothard Route AND the Lostchberg-Simplon route from Basel

  • Train 1 - 10:31 IC train from Basel (SBB) to Brig
  • Train 2 - 12:44 local train from Brig to Domodossola (4 minute connection at Brig)
  • Train 3 - 13:25 F.A.R.T train from Domodossola to Lorcano (also conveys observation cars that are accessible on payment of a supplement).
  • Train 4 - 15:45 IR train from Locarno to Basel (SBB), arrives Basel at 19:55

The three Basel stations

Befitting a city that straddles three countries, France, Germany and Switzerland, Basel is served by three mainline stations, each of which is operated by the national rail network of each country.

The primary station is the Swiss station known Basel SBB station and is operated by the Swiss rail network and it is where connections can be made from the multiple international trains to/from the city.
It is adjacent to the French station, Basel SNCF, the SNCF station is a border point so has passport control, but this does not tend to cause delays.
The 'Trains To' and 'Trains From' guides for Basel on therebytrain.com have timings taken from Basel SBB/SNCF.

The German station in the city has something of a split personality as it is occasionally referred to as ‘Basel Badischer Bahnhof’ - often shortened to 'Basel (bad bf); while at other times it is known as ‘Basel DB'.
It is some distance from the SBB station, trains that call at both Basel (SBB) and Basel (Bad bf) stations GENERALLY depat from Basel (bad Bf) 10 minutes after they depart from Basel (SBB)

Using Basel SBB/SNCF station

The SBB and SNCF stations share a concourse, to reach the SNCF platforms passengers remain at ground level while the SBB platforms are reached by a bridge linked to the concourse by stairs and escalators.

Therefore passengers changing between the SNCF and SBB stations should allow 15 mins to make a connection (as they also have to clear customs) but passengers can make connections within the SBB station in 5-10 minutes.

Public Transport

Click here for a public transport map for Basel

On the map the SBB/SNCF station is to the south of the city centre area and is named 'Bahnhof SBB'
The DB station (see below) is to the north of the river and is named 'Badischer Bahnhof'

The charming medieval quarter in the city centre is worth a visit if you have time between trains, but it’s a 15min walk from the SBB station. Tram lines 10, 11 and 8 will take you to the Market Place (Marktplatz) from the city's major tram interchange, which is immediately in front of the station.
The word renowned arts collection at the Kunstmuseum is a 10-15 minute walk from the station along Elisabathenstrasse, or take tram line No.2 to the Kunstmuseum' stop.

Train Service Summary - Basel SBB

Basel SBB is served by frequent services from/to other major towns and cities in Switzerland including Bern, Brig, Geneva, Locarno, Lucerne, Interlaken and Zurich , as well as trains to Geneva and Zurich airports. The international services leaving from the SBB platforms are:

There are no longer any through trains from Basel to Austria, passengers must change in Zurich.

In the SBB station different services can follow each other into the platforms in quick succession, so use the indicator on the platforms to check that you have found the correct train before boarding.

Train Service Summary - Basel SNCF

The French station ‘Basel SNCF’ is immediately adjacent to the SBB station. It is served by regional trains from/to towns and cities in eastern France including Mulhouse and Strasbourg, as well as the EC trains to Brussels via Luxembourg.

The Lyria trains to Paris depart from Basel SBB

Using Basel DB Station

Basel (Bad bf) Station on Google Maps

The third station in Basel is the German station, which is on the right bank of the city and is usually referred to in timetables as Basel DB, but is also referred to as Badischer Bahnhof (usually shortened to Basel (bad bf)).
It is served by local trains from/to German destinations including Freiburg, these LOCAL trains terminate at Basel DB and don't operate to/from Basel SBB.

The ICE and other long distance services from/to major German towns and cities also call at Basel (Bad bf) AFTER they have departed from Basel (SBB).
However, if you don't want to go to the bother of making reservations on ICE trains from Basel to Germany when travelling 2nd class, you'll have a better chance of finding a seat if you board the train at Basel (SBB) station.

Please note when traveling FROM Germany that this is not the station for connecting trains into Switzerland, stay on the train for Basel SBB.

However, if you’re heading for the city centre you can get off the train at Basel (Bad bf) and hop on to tram lines 2 or 6.