Nyon–St-Cergue–Morez Railway

The Nyon–St-Cergue–Morez Railway (NStCM), French: Chemin de fer Nyon–Saint-Cergue–Morez, is a narrow gauge railway in western Switzerland which nowadays operates between Nyon, on the northern shore of Lake Geneva and the French border at La Cure, the La Cure–Morez section having closed in 1958. The railway reaches a height of 1,228 metres (4,029 feet) above sea level at the Col de la Givrine and it is the highest in the Jura Mountains.

Nyon–St-Cergue–Morez Railway
Native nameChemin de fer Nyon–Saint-Cergue–Morez
LocaleVaud, Switzerland
TerminiLa Cure, Nyon
TypeCommuter rail
Line length26.70 km (16.59 mi)
Number of tracks1
Track gauge1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in) metre gauge
ElectrificationOverhead lines, 1500 V DC (since 1985)
Operating speed60 km/h (37 mph)
Highest elevation1,232 m (4,042 ft)
Nyon–La Cure
0km / 0hour
395 m
Gare souterraine
210 m
1.1 / 0:01
Les Plantaz
420 m
2.4 / 0:02
La Vuarpiliere
3.0 / 0:03
466 m
74 m
4.4 / 0:06
501 m
110 m
6.4 / 0:10
554 m
7.5 / 0:12
562 m
8.5 / 0:14
598 m
9.8 / 0:16
La Joy-Clinique
11.1 / 0:19
Le Muids
715 m
12.1 / 0:20
756 m
Tunnel Bassins
116 m
13.9 / 0:24
842 m
17.1 / 0:29
La Chevrerie-Monteret
970 m
19.1 / 0:32
St Cergue
1047 m
Tunnel St-Cergue
99 m
22.1 / 0:37
Les Pralies
1146 m
23.3 / 0:39
La Givrine
1208 m
27.0 / 0:45
La Cure
1155 m
Swiss / French border
La Cure (F)
1152 m
Les Rousses
1110 m
940 m
Tunnel Sous-les-Barres
96 m
895 m
Tunnel Turu
58 m
La Doye
Pont de la Bienne
Morez Ecole
Morez Ville
701 m
Morez SNCF
734 m
Railcars on shed : ACMV/BBC Type Be4/4 205 in 'new livery' (left) alongside SWS/SAAS Type BDe4/4 231 ex-CJ No.606, photographed at Saint-Cergue.



The line, built to 1,000 mm (3 ft 3+38 in) gauge, was opened in three sections, the first from Nyon, a town on the shores of Lake Geneva, to the Jura mountain resort village of Saint-Cergue on 12 July 1916, then to the French border at La Cure, opened on 18 August 1917. The third section, built by the French Company Chemins de fer électriques du Jura (CFEJ), taking the line over the border was opened to the French town of Morez on 7 March 1921 giving a total length of 39 km (24 mi). In effect this small line linked the Swiss railways main line from Geneva to Lausanne to that of the Chemins de fer de Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (PLM) (from 1938 this was the SNCF). With the exception of the period from 1940 to 1948 this enabled direct services to operate on a daily basis, although wintertime conditions often made this a difficult feat. Because of its steep gradients the line was electrified from the outset at the unusual, if not unique, 2,200 Volts DC. The 12-kilometre (7.5 mi) French section from La Cure to Morez closed on 28 September 1958.

The line


Originally the line commenced outside the main station in Nyon and after passing below the Swiss Federal Railways main line it climbed steadily, steeply in places taking large curves to ease the gradient, to the mountain resort of St. Cergue. From here it runs alongside the road through the Col de la Givrine, with a summit of 1,232 m (4,042 ft). above sea level, to the village of La Cure, nowadays its upper terminus. It was here the line crossed the French border and again running alongside the road, passing the village of Les Rousses it duly arrived in the streets of Morez. The line then descended steeply to terminate in front of the PLM station.

Locomotives and Rolling Stock

No. Type Seats: 2nd+1st Builders Details Date Built Notes.
1 ABDe4/4 20+5 SWS/BBC 1916 Sold 1982, Chemin de fer de la Mure
2 ABDe4/4 30+6 CGV/BBC 1936 1961 ex-CFEJ No.2:Withdrawn 1986
3 ABDe4/4 18+6 D&B/BBC 1924 1961 ex-CFEJ No.1:Scrapped after accident 1980
5 ABDe4/4 20+5 SWS/BBC 1916 Sold 1986, Chemin de fer de la Mure
6 ABDe4/4 20+5 SWS/BBC 1916 Withdrawn 1983
10 ABDe4/4 10+5 SWS/BBC 1918 Sold 1992, Chemin de fer de la Mure
11 ABDe4/4 10+5 SWS/BBC 1918 Sold 1992, Chemin de fer de la Mure
201 Be4/4 40 ACMV/BBC 1985
202 Be4/4 40 ACMV/BBC 1985
203 Be4/4 40 ACMV/BBC 1985
204 Be4/4 40 ACMV/BBC 1985
205 Be4/4 40 ACMV/BBC 1986
211 BDe4/4 24 ACMV/ABB 1991 baggage area but fewer seats
221 BDe4/4 40 1936 Ex-LEB No.22, 1991
231 BDe4/4 32 SWS/SAAS 1953 Ex-CJ No.606, 2003
232 BDe4/4 32 SWS/SAAS 1953 Ex-CJ No.607, 2007
251 XTm2/2 Beilhack/Deutz 1984 Fitted with Hiab lifting equipment.
261 Tm2/2 O&K/Deutz 1958 Type MV4A, Wks No.25845. Rebuilt 1996.
301 Bt 52 ACMV/BBC 1985 driving trailer
302 Bt 52 ACMV/BBC 1985 driving trailer
303 Bt 52 ACMV/BBC 1985 driving trailer
304 Bt 52 ACMV/BBC 1985 driving trailer
305 Bt 52 ACMV/BBC 1986 driving trailer
331 Bt 48 SIG/SAAS 1952 driving trailer, ex-CJ No.705
341 B 66 SWS 1949 ex BTI B41 in 1978 ex BD B41 in 1969
342 B 66 SWS 1949 ex BTI B42 in 1978 ex BD B42 in 1969
381 D SWS 1913 ex-YSteC DZ 62 ex PTT (RhB) Z4° 76 ex 88 1955 rebuilt with bogies ex Z° 26 ex 321
  • all motor coaches are double cab
  • all driving trailers are single cab
  • B 341-342 are MU-wired for push-pull operation with Be4/4 201-205, BDe4/4 211 and Bt 301-305





The earliest section to open, that in Switzerland, continued after the closure of the French section and in the 1980s was part of a modernisation programme. The overline line voltage was changed from 2,200 Volts DC to the more common 1,500 Volts DC[1] and automatic block signalling was installed. Work to modernise the infrastructure and implement the voltage change took place throughout 1984 and 1985. The St. Cergue–La Cure section was changed to the new, reduced voltage in mid-October 1985 and the Nyon–St. Cergue section followed on 5 December 1985.[1] As part of this modernisation, new rolling stock was purchased, and arrived starting in autumn 1985. These were new automotrice (powered driving railcars) and matching voitures pilote (driving trailers). During the transitional phase in the line voltage, the old cars were able to continue in service after the reduction in voltage, but at reduced speed. The old stock ran for the last time on 20 December 1985, and from 21 December all service was operated by the new trains.[1]

Plans were put forward in 1999 to extend the line some 2.5 km (1.6 mi) over the French border to the village of Les Rousses but this did not prove cost effective to the communities involved and was rejected. In 2004, the Nyon terminus was moved to a two platform underground station on the north side of the main line approached by escalators from the station underpass.



The original “automotrice”, of which 7 were built, were heavy duty vehicles and could haul several trailer cars. Two of these have survived, restored to working order, at the Chemin de Fer de la Mure near Grenoble. Two other examples were sold to the same railway but have yet to be restored. Some trailer cars have also survived including No. B7 which has been restored at the Blonay–Chamby museum railway near Montreux and another example at the Chemin de Fer Voies Ferrees du Velay in Haute Loire. The vehicles carried a dark red livery.



  1. ^ a b c Cross, Barry; Hofmann, Pierre (April 1994). "Nyon – St. Cergue – Morez: An international light rail line". Light Rail & Modern Tramway. UK: Ian Allan Publishing. pp. 87–93. ISSN 0964-9255.