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Refugees and train travel to and through Switzerland

We are planning a train trip in May from London to Lucerne Switzerland, passing through Paris. Are there any issues, disruptions or travel considerations that could be caused by the refugees who are migrating through Europe?

Posted by
8889 posts

They have not turned up in serious numbers in Switzerland. From media reports (2-3 months ago) a few have turned up at the border with Austria, and border patrol / immigration / customs (Grenzwache) were making extra checks on trains crossing the Austrian border.

Basically this is a none-issue and has disappeared from the media. Except for a few places, like the bridge between Denmark and Sweden where 100% passport checks have been introduced which have caused some trains to be cancelled (see www.seat61.com/news.htm ), it is not a problem.
Partially this is due to winter, so being outside travelling across and between countries is less attractive.

It is still normal to cross the border on foot, by bus, tram, train or car without ever being stopped, as it has been since Switzerland joined Schengen in 2003. I did see two Grenzwache on the platform today as a local train was pulling in from Germany, but that is the usual random inspection for shoppers exceeding their customs limits.

Posted by
4586 posts

don't forget there are Chunnel issues from time to time, there are large encampments on the French side of the tunnel and sometimes they break through the barriers trying to get onto trains and things get shut down for a while.

You're wise to be thinking about this but in terms of news, May is a long long ways away. As noted the American media has lost interest in the refugees, but if you watch European English language news services like the BBC, France 24 and the German service DW you'll get updates on the most current situations.

Posted by
32264 posts

I doubt that you'll face any disruptions in travel. For one thing, you'll be traveling in a different direction to that of the refugees. Most of them camped in Calais and area are trying to get into England, not the opposite direction. The same applies for the trip from Paris to Lucerne. I doubt that any refugees will be travelling in that direction.

Posted by
4586 posts

It's true the refugees want to get TO the UK, but the authorities are not going to shut down only one set of tracks if there are people running about on them pursued by gendarmes and dogs.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks again for the comments. I guess we need to monitor the situation; however I havent heard from anyone who has had an incident so far. Hopefully by spring the authorities will be even better prepared with a plan for managing the refugees.

Posted by
32264 posts

phred,

"It's true the refugees want to get TO the UK, but the authorities are not going to shut down only one set of tracks if there are people running about on them pursued by gendarmes and dogs."

That's true but the situation in Calais seems to have been brought under control, with a much heavier police presence and more enforcement action. For that reason, immigrants are apparently now settling closer to Dunkirk and have set up a camp there (rather a dreadful looking conglomeration of tents set in a sea of mud).