FRENCH cooperative Railcoop ceased operation of freight services on April 30 as the company shifts to focus on the launch of passenger trains in 2024.

Railcoop launched a daily common user freight service between Capdenac and Toulouse Saint Jory in November 2021. The service used two G1000 diesel locomotives hired from DB Cargo France and a rake of curtain-sided wagons leased from Ermewa. The train often ran completely empty “to show that the company could run a reliable service” and never carried more than a few pallets for a chocolate manufacturer.

In mid-2022 Railcoop stopped this service and started moving a short train of timber once a week over the same route, with Fret SNCF moving the train from Saint Jory to a paper plant in Saint Gaudens. In early 2023 Railcoop took over the whole run to Saint Gaudens then on April 5 launched a second train of timber from Gignac-Cressensac, just south of Brive, to Saint Gaudens.

Railcoop appears to be in serious trouble, having used up much of the capital it has raised from shareholders on these freight services. The company employs more than 32 staff, five of whom will lose their jobs after the withdrawal of the freight service.

The company announced in March that it would launch its inaugural Bordeaux - Lyon service on June 26 2024. It plans to run three return trains and one single service per week, becoming the first new entrant in the conventional passenger market in France in competition with French National Railways (SNCF).