• After more than two years of hiatus, the early bird train, which carries fruit and vegetables between Perpignan and Rungis, should be relaunched in October.

  • Good news for the planet: the train had been replaced by trucks.

  • But defenders of the freight line remain vigilant: the configuration announced for October is not really the one that was in service before the removal.

It's been over two years since the early bird train has been running. In the summer of 2019, this railway line, which transports fruit and vegetables between Perpignan (Pyrénées-Orientales) and the Rungis market (Val-de-Marne), had been suddenly stopped for lack of customers, and in the face of the dilapidated state of its refrigerated cars. After a long struggle between railway workers and elected officials, the state announced its reopening on September 20. A priori, "mid-October". A return to service which is part of the government plan of one billion euros, for the development of freight.

If the return of the early bird train is good news for the industry, it is also a chance for the planet.

For the Sauvons le train Perpignan / Rungis collective, it is even an “essential” tool for its survival.

"This is a real victory for the environment, at a time when alarming reports are piling up on global warming," confides Thomas Portes, its spokesperson.

To remove this train, as the management of the SNCF had done with the government, was surreal.


Between 25,000 and 40,000 trucks per year

Because since its closure, the train had been replaced by trucks, launched on the highways.

“Between 25,000 and 40,000 per year, estimates Thomas Portes.

When the train is not running, 44 tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere every day.

»Against barely 3 tons, approximately, for the train.

“This deletion was an aberration,” he continues.

This is why the fight had gathered well beyond the ranks of railway unions and left-wing parties, by bringing together associations and citizens.

And even former Macronist deputies.

No one understood why this train had been replaced by trucks.


But the defenders of the line remain vigilant, as for the announcements of the government.

"We do not know how it will run, with what load, and whether it is with the public service or not who will take care of it," continues Thomas Portes.

There are still a lot of questions.


Half the number of wagons than in the previous train

On the side of the CGT, if the return of the early bird train is a "victory", the account is not there. “The acts do not correspond to the commitments, nor to the fine words, of our leaders, scolds the CGT of the railway workers of Perpignan. We learn that only 12 cars will be dedicated to this train daily. "Twelve wagons, which will run from November to mid-July at the rate of five connections per week, while" originally there were 24 to 25 ", deplores Mickaël Meunier, CGT delegate in Perpignan, and driver of the early bird train. "It's a" half-train "," says the railwayman, who regrets that an "additional charger", according to his information, was refused. "We are therefore still a long way off, assures the CGT, of a modal shift from the road to iron as required today by the climate and social emergency." "

Rail Logistics Europe (RLE), which brings together Fret SNCF and its other European subsidiaries, won the call for expressions of interest, launched by the State.

Its offer will combine the early bird train and container transport on the rail motorway, on the Le Boulou / Gennevilliers axis.


Perpignan: The fruit and vegetable train to Rungis, how does it work?


Rail freight: The Rungis-Perpignan line will reopen in mid-October

  • Languedoc-Roussillon

  • Planet

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Perpignan

  • Rungis

  • Train