by Richard Hammond
Railcoop, a French rail cooperative, has unveiled plans to run passenger trains on the Bordeaux-Lyon line, which has been closed since 2014.
Railcoop declared its plans to the French Transport Regulatory Authority - an important step in the organisation's plan to roll out the service in the summer of 2022.
Since the abolition of the service in 2014, there hasn't been a direct rail link between Lyon - the second largest metropolis in France- and Bordeaux - the fifth largest.
“The Province-Province conventional train market remains largely untapped in France. However, there is a strong demand”, said Dominique Guerrée, the President of Railcoop.
The planned rail journey between Bordeaux and Lyon through the north of the Massif Central will stop off at the following railway stations: Libourne, Périgueux, Limoges, Saint-Sulpice-Laurière, Guéret, Montluçon, Gannat, Saint-Germain-des-Fossés, and Roanne.
With an expected journey time of 6 hours 47 minutes, the service will actually be slower than the Bordeaux to Lyon rail journey via Paris, but, according to Quentin Neurohr, member of Railcoop and director of COPOMO, a mobility consultancy, speed isn't everything: “There is a real demand for direct, comfortable, safe, affordable rail services for which speed is secondary”.
If Railcoop's plans are successful, it says it plans to open other services, including passenger trains, night trains, and freight trains, which will run on existing infrastructure.
Railcoop currently has more than 300 members in France.
More information: www.railcoop.fr