Regional train of the SNCF at Lyon station
Photo: Benoit Durand / Hans Lucas / IMAGO
In France, a community railway, organized as a cooperative, is starting up, which wants to connect regions neglected by the state railway SNCF with its own trains.
The Ministry of the Environment in Paris granted the railway company Railcoop the operating license, as announced on Wednesday.
Since December last year, companies other than SNCF have also been able to apply for certain routes.
The basis is the opening up of the inner-French passenger train traffic to the competition.
As the first connection in passenger transport, Railcoop wants to offer direct trains on the cross-connection between Lyon and Bordeaux from June next year, which were discontinued by the SNCF in 2014.
Further connections from Thionville to Lyon and from Rennes to Toulouse are being planned.
"With Railcoop, citizens, railway workers, companies and municipalities are getting together for the first time to breathe new life into the railways," said Railcoop director Nicolas Debaisieux.
The aim is to oppose the retreat of the railway from the surface.
Operation without subsidies
In the past ten years, the railway has closed 19 percent of its passenger stations in France, a total of 644 stops.
Over a thousand kilometers have been shut down since 2015.
Instead of investing in new high-speed routes, the existing infrastructure must be better used, so Debaisieux.
The railway protects the climate and the environment.
The railway company, which is organized as a non-profit cooperative, already has 9142 members, including local authorities, municipalities and financial and technical partners.
The cooperative wants to do without public subsidies and not only want to run passenger trains but also freight trains.
A first connection to a transshipment station in Toulouse is to be used in two months.
sug / dpa-AFX