And if Lyon and Bordeaux were again connected by a direct train ? The company Railcoop announced, Wednesday, 10 June, be filed with the regulatory Authority for transport (ART) his project with a train line crossing France from east to west, taking advantage of the opening up to competition as possible after the end of the year. Lyon and Bordeaux will be connected to a draft in six hours forty-seven by 2022, via Roanne, Montlucon, Limoges, Perigueux or Libourne.
If several foreign operators have already expressed their intention of coming to compete with SNCF in France, the project of Railcoop has the distinction of being worn by a co-operative. A project born "there was a year and a half in the Lot, near a railway track on which there are no longer of service so that we are in a region very dependent on the car," recalls the director-general, Nicolas Debaisieux.
Build the train in the face of the car
to where the other entrants on the French market plan to enter in competition with the national airline, Railcoop rather wishes to " register as a team to develop the offer ". "The question is not to share what is the SNCF, but to try to take market share from the car by developing the rail. "
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The company is placed under the status of SCIC (cooperative society collective interest), a status similar to that of a limited company, but with a few additional constraints related to the mode of operation of cooperative. All physical persons, legal entities or communities may become members by paying the participation of their choice, but each member has only one vote. "We put 10 million euros into the company, or only 100 euros, it was the same weight," says Nicolas Debaisieux.
The status of SCIC also requires the reinvestment of at least 57.5% of the profits. "We, this will be 100 %," warns from the outset, the director-general. No dividends for the shareholders, not more than of opportunity to speculate on the value of the business to hope to resell their shares more expensive : a hand guard to a fixed value. "There is no direct financial benefit, but there is a social and environmental impact. "
Of the 32 members at the end of November 2019, at his creation, Railcoop now almost 500, for a capital of 170 000 euros. "Since the announcement of the project repository to the ART, there has been an explosion in the number of members, but a subscription to the average more low," observes Nicolas Debaisieux. For the moment, these are mostly persons who have participated, " but we are in discussion with local authorities who are interested ". Railcoop hopes to reach 1.5 million euros of funding by the end of the year, the necessary threshold to be able to ask the railway undertaking licence.
regional Hubs of freight
The project of the line Bordeaux-Lyon is only one facet of the overall project of Railcoop. As of 2021, the co-op also plans to develop a service for rail freight. "If we take the example of Figeac, in the Lot, where is our headquarters, there is a need for freight in the basin, but not enough for complete trains or regular buses," explains Nicolas Debaisieux. We could all group together in regional hubs in order to pool the needs. "
other lines of the carriage of passengers are also considered, such as Metz-Lyon or Rennes-Toulouse. "We identified a lack of lines province-province, there is a real need. "These are the members who will decide to which links Railcoop must turn to the following.
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But why the co-op would succeed-it where the SNCF decided not to make riding its trains for lack of profitability ? To the extent that the new entrant wishes to align the price of the ticket on the carpool. The director-general to ensure that market studies have been carried out, and that the demand is there. "It is also a white sheet, with a leaner organisation and more flexible than the SNCF, which made roll-15 000 trains per day. "A flexibility that will optimize the cost and maintenance to roll trains two times more than the national company.
" It would be a normal company, seeking profit, we do not positioned not on these lines, recognizes Nicolas Debaisieux. But we don't have the financial pressure of the shareholders, so we can agree to have smaller margins while remaining viable. "
66 million euros for the purchase of trains
To operate trains, still have to buy. Railcoop is focused on Régiolis, a model of Alstom already very used by the SNCF. But, at € 11 million per ream, six oars necessary for the Bordeaux-Lyon, the ante is huge for the co-op. "We are going to rent it from rental companies who are going to buy for us. This allows us to minimize the cost of access to the material and risk-taking. They will be able to easily resell if it goes bankrupt, it is a model of train common. "
But, with the crisis of the Covid-19, banks have tightened financing conditions, and rental companies may have themselves a little harder to invest in the purchase of the trains. "It is a barrier to the entry of the market, regrets that Nicolas Debaisieux. The State says that it is the law of the market, and it agrees not to have some connections, either with the emergence of actors alternative to the purchase of equipment, which is manufactured in France. "
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Now that the project of the Bordeaux-Lyon has been filed, operators and regions located on the route have a month to make an appeal. In this case, the ART will conduct a test of the economic equilibrium to determine if the action is justified or not. After this step, and the obtaining of the license for rail in mid-2021 to begin the recruitment of 70 full-time equivalents (drivers, agents at the station...) and the layout of the stations. If all goes well, the first passenger train Railcoop should be on the rails in 2022.