There won't be much rushing for the TGV at Gare de Lyon this weekend / AFP/Getty Images

Gare de Lyon trains will stop while new signal system is commissioned

British skiers heading for the French and Swiss Alps could find their journeys disrupted this weekend by the shutdown of the third-busiest railway station in France. 

Paris Gare de Lyon is to close on Saturday and Sunday as a switch-over takes place from the signal box at the station to a new signalling centre at Vigneux-sur-Seine, 10 miles south of the terminus. All SNCF main-line trains have been diverted to other stations, or cancelled.

The terminus, which is behind only Paris Nord and St-Lazare in passenger numbers, normally handles close to 300,000 passengers a day.

TGV Lyria trains to Switzerland will run from the Gare de l’Est, while many services to the Alps will leave from the relatively small station of Versailles Chantiers, south-west of the capital.

Charles de Gaulle airport and Marne-la-Vallée, the station for Disneyland Paris, will serve as stations for services to the Mediterranean.

The Europe by Rail website, which has produced a comprehensive summary of changes, comments: “The old signal box at the end of Platform 5 at the Gare de Lyon was state of the art when it was commissioned in the 1930s. But it’s no longer fit for purpose.”

Some RER suburban trains will continue to serve Gare de Lyon. 

Direct Eurostar trains to destinations should be unaffected, though there is a chance that the disruption at Paris could cause knock-on delays to some services.

Mark Smith, the founder of the website, said: “With TGVs to Lyon, Marseille or Nice requiring a trek out, and TGVs to Spain and Italy cancelled, let's just say I'd postpone any travel plans until this weekend is over.”