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Railcoop´s cargo trials of small-volume convoys will launch due to high demand.

Railcoop´s cargo trials of small-volume convoys will launch due to high demand.
photo: Railcoop/Railcoop
01 / 11 / 2021

Railcoop, a French company established two years ago, is now shifting from its purpose of relaunching the train infrastructure in small towns. The company plans to develop a small, unbundled freight link between Decazeville (Aveyron) and Toulouse scheduled for November 15 to serve the Mechanic Vallée around Figeac (Lot).

Railcoop was born on the initiative of its Managing Director Nicolas Debaisieux, a mining engineer who worked at the General Secretariat for European Affairs. With the opening of rail to competition, he wanted to relaunch the transverse lines that connect medium-sized towns. In two years, the idea has attracted 9,140 members, including around 100 companies and associations and 12 communities such as the agglomeration communities of Libourne, Vichy, and Montluçon.

Railcoop, which employs 22 people, has raised 3.4 million euros in equity but must reach 5 million at the end of the year for the banks to grant it the necessary loans.

The new cooperative society of collective interest, Railcoop in Figeac (Lot) will open on November 15 a 180 km freight line between Decazeville (Aveyron), Capdenac (Lot), and Toulouse / Saint-Jory.

This cooperative, founded in November 2019 to relaunch the train infrastructures in small towns, obtained its rail operator license in September and is supposed to have its safety certificate in November. It rented 24 wagons from Ermewa, 2 diesel locomotives from DB Cargo, and recruited two drivers, two handlers, and a production manager. It will first make two round trips per week, then one per weekday in 2022.


But Railcoop's major target is to reopen the Bordeaux-Lyon passenger line, closed in 2014, which links Périgueux, Limoges, Montluçon, Roanne, etc. The opening scheduled for June 2022 was postponed to December because the cooperative has only obtained "55% reliable train paths", with some links stopping at Libourne or Roanne ... "SNCF Réseau is not used to 'arrival of new operators,' deplores the president.

The plan of pelletizing

"We want to create a shuttle that will load small volumes on demand by repackaging as it was forty years ago, without having to order entire wagons", explains Dominique Guerrée, volunteer president of Railcoop. We are targeting the Mechanic Vallée around Figeac and Decazeville, where there are a lot of aeronautical subcontractors who send the parts to Toulouse. 

"We are experimenting with this line, and if it works, we will open others", says Dominique Guerrée.