Trains: small railway lines are regaining ground for the climate

Occitania has achieved the feat of offering the cheapest regional trains in France, while investing in the reopening of small lines. Example in Gard and in the south of Haute-Garonne where the first hydrogen train in France will be tested.

Without warning, the Gardois are making progress from the point of view of eco-responsible transport. Since the spring of 2019, the liO coaches that connect Vauvert to Vergèze have been running on bioethanol. And since August 29, 2022, the train is the safest way to connect Pont-Saint-Esprit to Nîmes.

“This line has been closed for almost 50 years. We are delighted to have it reopened, comments Claire Lapeyronie, the mayor of Pont-Saint-Esprit. It is a real attractiveness tool. In addition, given the pricing policy of the Occitanie Region, it is good both for purchasing power and for the planet”.

20 minutes less travel time

The icing on the cake, the inhabitants of Pont-Saint-Esprit who prefer the train to the car save 20 minutes on the journey. As a result, the 20,000 user mark will be crossed next week on this line.

Figures that make the mayors of Montréjeau, Gourdan-Polignan and Bagnères-de-Luchon dream. The Comminges will indeed be the next sector opened up by the train thanks to the voluntarism of the Occitanie Region. Renovation work on the track will start in the second half of 2023 with a view to reopening it to passengers in 2024, ten years after the line was closed. The elected officials of Comminges are already salivating.

“Young people from Luchon will be able to come to Gourdan-Polignan college more easily. And we also hope that the train will bring people back to the leisure center which welcomes 2,000 people a day, in the summer”confides Éric Miquel, the mayor of Montréjeau.

At the other end of the line, Éric Azémar, the mayor of Luchon, also thinks about the lungs of his constituents. “Today, access to Luchon is only by road which is congested with trucks. In addition, the Ogeu group, which has just bought the bottling plant from Intermarché, will triple the production rates, which will add 20 to 25 trucks every day on the road from April 2023. This is where piggybacking would take on all its logic”.

A cost of €67 million for the Region

That turns out well, “the line is sized to accommodate freight trains”, provides SNCF network. Clear roads with the prospect of 26 times less CO2 in the air, it makes you want to abandon heat engines in favor of the train.

Under these conditions, Alain Puenté, president of the community of Pyrenees Haut-Garonne municipalities, sees in the upcoming reopening of the line “a beneficial response for the territory and economic development”. A development that has a cost: €67 million for the Occitanie Region in charge of the project management of the works. But if it can help the ski resort of Superbagnères to go up the slope…

And you, what are you doing for the climate?

Throughout the Occitanie region, many actors are mobilizing to think differently about mobility, mobility. A brief overview in four examples.

Sharing the car with the Grands Causses Regional Park

Citiz and the Regional Park have joined forces in South Aveyron.

Transport absorbs 35% of energy consumption in France, but up to 42% in the Grands Causses Regional Park which occupies 50% of Aveyron (2 inhabitants per km2 in some places), with little transport in common. The Park therefore opted for car sharing in 2018. “There are seven today, in partnership with Citiz Occitanie. This encourages users to rationalize their trips. The use has been multiplied by three between the summer 2021 and summer 2022”, we explain to the Park. A private car is immobilized 95% of the time, which would mean fewer cars sold, and therefore fewer materials used, if the system were to develop.

Wimoov plays the sustainable mobility card

Wimoov offers scooters in Saint-Gaudens, in Haute-Garonne.

Wimoov offers scooters in Saint-Gaudens, in Haute-Garonne.

The 25 employees of Wimoov will have supported 2,800 people in professional integration towards autonomous and sustainable mobility in 2022, in six departments of Occitanie. “We systematically promote public transport in the region”, explains Pierre Garcia, the regional director of Wimoov, which offers electric cars for solidarity rental, cars without a license for short trips in the Hautes-Pyrénées and Gers, electric scooters (rented €2.50/d) and scooters in Saint-Gaudens… and is preparing to create a traveling school bike. (Contact: [email protected] and 05 62 31 94 41).

Rézo inch, Mobicoop, solidarity hitchhiking in Pays Coeur d’Hérault

Elsa Achard, responsible for the sustainable urban strategy mission.

Elsa Achard, responsible for the sustainable urban strategy mission.

Elsa Achard is very proud of her role as project manager for sustainable urban strategy at the community of communes in the Hérault valleys. The solidarity hitchhiking set up with Rézo inch and then Mobicoop is marching on the fire of God on the territory. “This is ideal for people from small villages who need to come and run a race in Gignac. The Department has installed the panels. It is a good landmark to better see hitchhikers for whom everything is free”. And for longer journeys, the Pays Cœur d’Hérault has launched PichoLines, the first free software carpooling platform. Ideal for commuting to work.

In Toulouse, Aura Aéro launches into the electric plane

Jérémy Caussade and Aura Aéro will fly their two-seater electric plane in 2023.

Jérémy Caussade and Aura Aéro will fly their two-seater electric plane in 2023.
Aura Aero –

Toulouse welcomes the pioneers of carbon-free aeronautics. Among them, Aura Aéro, which Jérémy Caussade founded with two partners in 2018. There were only 5 of them when the Covid started. They now number 140, plus 60 external employees. “Intégral”, their training two-seater will fly for the first time with its electric motor in 2023. Aura is also working on Era, a 19-seater electric plane which is presented as the most advanced in the world of this size. The battery and the planned turbo generator will give her up to 600 nautical miles of autonomy. “It’s the biggest commercial aircraft that we can imagine today with this technology”, confides Jérémy Caussade who announces a first flight in 2025. And above all seats around 100€, “convinced that we will fly a little less in the future, but better”.

The promise of green hydrogen

“Hydrogen will have an impact in particular in the key areas of mobility (in addition to batteries and to electrify heavy mobility such as trains, trucks, buses) and transportation (to transport energy from one point of the planet to another). It’s nothing!”, enthuses Florence Lambert, president of the company Genvia (Schlumberger, CEA, Arec Occitanie, Vinci Construction and Vicat), which will produce carbon-free hydrogen in its plant in Béziers (Hérault). Green hydrogen is made from water and electricity from renewable sources. “We hope to be able to distribute affordable energy, fairly and without polluting by 2030”, continues the manager. The future giga factory will employ 500 people. “The energy transition can make it possible to reindustrialize the country”.

Leave a Comment