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I booked a ticket via DB for a journey that starts in Germany and ends in Switzerland. One leg is operated by TGV Lyria (Paris-Zürich).

Now I learned (by accident) that TGV requires a seat reservation which apparently is not part of the ticket (I don't see any seats information). A DB seat-only-query does not work for this type of train. sncf-connect.com does not sell seats only apparently...

I don't live in France nor in Germany.

How can I get these seats reserved?

Why is this so hard? What is the potential risk if I won't get this done? Financial penalty? How high?

Haltingen-Basel Bad (RE7) → Basel Bad-Basel SBB (ICE5) → Basel SBB-Zurich (TGV Lyra 9203)

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    What is your routing? Germany-Paris-Zurich? Apr 17 at 13:09
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    This sounds very odd. Unless something went very wrong, DB won't sell you a ticket to a train with compulsory seat reservation without automatically including a seat reservation. Apr 17 at 13:46
  • Haltingen-Basel Bad (RE7) > Basel Bad-Basel SBB (ICE5) > Basel SBB-Zurich (TGV Lyra 9203)
    – Heps
    Apr 17 at 14:12
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    please contact the SBB (swiss train service provider) +41 848 44 66 88 and report back their answer. It is likely that the seat reservation on the Basel-Zurich tract of the TGV is not compulsory.
    – EarlGrey
    Apr 18 at 9:13

5 Answers 5

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If you board on a TGV for the Swiss-domestic ride from Basel to Zurich you do not need to reserve a seat and the price is the same as any other Swiss train.

Source: just asked at the swiss rail SBB counter in Basel.

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sncf-connect.com does not sell seats only apparently...

This sounds about right. In France no* service allows for that; it's either compulsory reserved seating (TGV, Intercités à réservation obligatoire...), or free seating (mostly TERs).

* Some regional services in the Normandy region started that model, but it's irrelevant here.


How to get these seats reserved?

It would depend on what routing you take.


For a Lyria fully in Switzerland, you do not need a seat reservation (you can see this while searching for a trip like Basel to Zürich).

1 × Point-to-point Ticket, Adults. Valid: Wed, 17.04.2024 until Thu, 18.04.2024 05:00

See the until date. It would not appear if you needed a reservation.


If you have a French segment on the Lyria, then I would contact DB to inquire, as it should have gotten you a reservation included in your ticket.

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    “no service allow for that”: actually, such services do exist, for people who have an unlimited travel pass. But then you get the reservation through that service (Forfait, Interrail, etc.). There's no generic seat reservation add-on for a ticket, the way it works in many other countries (and it used to work in France). Apr 17 at 13:32
  • @Gilles'SO-stopbeingevil' At least for inter-rail, I don't think you have to get the seat reservation from inter-rail (or their associated app). I found that inter-rail charges a lot more for seat reservations (about 8euros) compared to making a seat reservation directly from DB or OBB (4ish euros). Apr 19 at 9:31
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From Basel to Zurich you will be on a domestic SBB service, that just happens to be operated with a TGV set (coming from Paris). So you can, as with all Swiss trains, just board and sit where you want. And with your ticket you can also take any other train on that route (they go every half hour.

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According to DB navigator TGV 9203 has mandatory seat reservation Paris - Basel only. Since you'll only be on the train from Basel to Zurich, a seat reservation is not mandatory.

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Basel to Zurich on TGV is non-reserved.

On this stretch, tickets are checked by SBB staff and the same rules apply as on any Swiss domestic train.

My GA travelcard was sufficient for the ride; no reservation asked. In Switzerland, this is optional.

On this direction, if you find an open seat, just take it, as there is no further intermediate stop in between. Now that all the TGV Lyria routes are run using double-decker 2N2 / Euroduplex units, there is a screen above each seat telling you about the reservation status.

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