FRANCE: Not-for-profit co-operative Railcoop confirmed on March 4 that it had achieved its target of raising initial capital of €1∙5m to fund the establishment of an open access freight and passenger operator.

Established as a Société Co-opérative d’Intérêt Collectif, the group was formed in November 2019 to develop plans for restoring inter-regional passenger trains on under-served routes. It has now attacted more than 6 000 members.


Railcoop hopes to launch a Bordeaux – Lyon service via Périgueux, Limoges and Montluçon in mid-2022. It has also applied to the Autorité de Régulation des Transports to operate other routes, notably Toulouse – Rennes via Limoges, Tours and Le Mans and Lyon – Thionville via Mâcon, Chalon sur Sâone, Dijon, Nancy and Metz.

Earlier this year, Railcoop announced that it also intended to enter the rail freight market, operating regular services in the northern part of Occitanie region in conjunction with a local business cluster. These services are expected to start before the end of 2021.

The initial capital of €1∙5m will fund the group’s application to obtain the necessary operating licence and safety certificate.