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5 minute connection time at Basel train station

Hi. I am only seeing some older posts on this question.
We are traveling from Bern to Basel to Paris by Train.
As I am looking at all connections from the site, all connection are 5 minutes in the Basel train station. Is this enough time? 4 people with backpacks.

Should we book just the Basel--> paris TGV and then take an earlier train from Bern?
Date of travel is 7/13/209

Thanks. Marnie

Posted by
668 posts

It would be best to hear from an expert (Chris, are you out there?); but in my experience the Swiss don't mess around when it comes to train schedules. When I've had 5 minutes to transfer, it has been about 3 minutes more than I needed.

Posted by
8889 posts

5 minutes is not enough time for changing from a Swiss train to a French TGV at Basel.
5 minutes would be the minimum I would accept between 2 Swiss trains, I know my way around Basel station and there is always another Swiss train in 30 minutes. That does not apply to a TGV, if you miss it you wait 2 hours.
A first timer who does not know the station would need 10 minutes minimum.

Sometimes it takes 2-3 minutes for everybody to get off the train, another minute to get up the escalator (especially if you have some tourist in front of you with too many bags ☺).

Swiss tickets are valid on any train that day (unlike the TGV tickets which are train specific). So the simple solution is just get the previous train from Bern, 30 minutes earlier.

  • Look at the SBB website ( ) to see which platform your train from Bern arrives at, and which your French train leaves from.
  • If you are really lucky they are adjacent platforms, otherwise it is up the escalator, a few metres to the correct platform then down the escalator.
  • On the passage connecting the platforms there are places you can buy coffee and food. More in the main hall at the front of the station. -Click for photo of the station passage. Note the platform number "5,6" and "7,8", each with escalators down to the platform and blue indicators listing the next train on tat platform.
Posted by
14 posts

Thank you, Chris. So it sounds like I am best purchasing the Basel to Paris TGV and take a separate Bern to Basel train, on a different booking ( and probably do not need to book this in advance).

Very helpful post. Thank you


Posted by
8889 posts

purchasing the Basel to Paris TGV and take a separate Bern to Basel train, on a different booking ( and probably do not need to book this in advance).

You do not need to do a different "booking". Your ticket from Bern to Paris via Basel will be valid on any train from Bern to Basel, you just get on any earlier one.

One of my gripes is people saying they want to "book" trains. I think they get this word from flying, and it implies they don't understand how train tickets work. In Switzerland (and may other places) you don't "book" trains, you buy a ticket. This ticket is valid on any train on the date shown on the ticket.
French TGV's are one of the exceptions, tickets are only valid on the train listed on the ticket, and your seat number is also listed on the ticket.

Posted by
27713 posts

If you aren't running you will have time to stop at the Pretzel King on the bridge to get your last pretzel before you get to France.

The Migros supermarket is a good place to stock up on picnic makings.