Switzerland is in the Schengen Area. But it is not part of the EU Customs Union. Therein is the newest excuse I’ve heard for a border control within the Schengen area.
I was a passenger on Railjet 362, departing Feldkirch* (Austria) at 0948 this morning, and scheduled in Buchs (Swiss border station) at 1005, although we were 10 minutes late, and it took the guards some time to go through the train.
An officer of the Corps des gardes-frontière / Grenzwachtkorps comes through the train and asks me for my passport. Not all passengers were asked.
Initially I assumed he was a policeman performing a border control so, as is my normal behaviour, I stated (in Hochdeutsch) that Switzerland was in Schengen, and hence there should not be a border control. No, he said, this is not a border control, but it is a customs control, and this is allowed as Switzerland is not in the EU Customs Union. OK, a customs control, fair enough, so I show the guy my passport, and then awaited questions about my luggage, was I carrying money etc… But no such questions were forthcoming (and I had a huge rucksack with me), the guy thanked me, and off he went.
Only passports / IDs were demanded from the few other passengers in the train that the guy spoke to. No mention whatsoever of anything to do with customs.
This then strikes me as some kind of border control, but dressed up as a customs check when you push the officer for an explanation. Yet another story to add to add to my ever-lengthening list…
* – how I ended up in Feldkirch is a story in itself. In short: splitting my Zagreb-Geneva rail trip there meant the whole lot cost less than half the price than if I booked the whole lot in one go.