Valvert Belgique : 10 ans de trains et puis plus rien…

Pour la première fois en Belgique, une autorité publique régionale participait au financement d’une infrastructure de la SNCB. C’était une ligne construite en Gaume belge en 1997, non loin du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg. Au bout de cette ligne L289, l’entreprise Valvert, une usine d’embouteillage d’eau minérale appartenant au groupe Nestlé Waters Benelux. L’entreprise est toujours présente sur les lieux actuellement.

En termes de coût, la pose de plus de 4 kilomètres de rails aura coûté deux millions et demi d’euros aux frais du contribuable, dont 157.000 euros ont été consacrés à l’aménagement du raccordement sur le site de l’usine, et 165.000 euros aux frais d’étude et de surveillance. Originalité marquante: la SNCB (à l’époque unitaire, sans Infrabel) n’avait financé ces travaux qu’à concurrence de 425.000 euros, le reste étant pris en charge par la Région wallonne, ce qui fût une grande première.

Valvert-L289

La capacité en 1997 de Valvert était 200.000 m3 d’eau par an et la moitié de ce volume était transportée par le rail. La ligne 289 a précisément été réalisée afin de permettre au site de l’usine Valvert d’être relié au réseau ferré et de permettre ainsi l’acheminement d’une partie de sa production vers les centres de distributions situés en France. L’évacuation de la production par rail se réalisait quotidiennement (sauf samedis et dimanches) au moyen de wagons à bogies du type “Rils”, chargés à raison de 34 palettes par wagon. Chaque palette pesait un poids brut de 1119 kg, soit 672 bouteilles de 1,5L. Vu le profil relativement accidenté de la ligne, la charge maximale pour une locomotive était de 12 wagons, soit 790 tonnes. Entre 1997 et octobre 2007, l’usine a ainsi expédié chaque matin entre 6 et 12 wagons vers la France via le triage de Stockem (Arlon), servant de hub.

Mais patatras en octobre 2007, le transport fût transféré à la route à la suite d’un changement de politique de la SNCF en matière de wagons isolés : la SNCF n’autorisait sur son réseau que des trains marchandises composés d’une dizaine de wagons, la fameuse politique des trains complets. En 2008, nouvel espoir avec la crise pétrolière naissante : un train complet de 24 wagons Rils est à nouveau expédié mais cette fois de manière hebdomadaire. Pour éviter la remise en tête de la locomotive à Marbehan (pour retourner vers Stockem), le train s’offre un tour d’Ardennes en remontant sur Libramont, puis en bifurquant vers le sud, jusqu’à Bertrix, où la rame était enfin reprise en traction électrique jusqu’à Uckange (Thionville) via Virton et Athus. Un trajet effectué en près de 7 h alors qu’il ne fallait qu’une centaine de kilomètres par la route ! Cela montre l’importance des courbes de raccordements et de leur orientation. Ce nouveau trafic ne durera hélas que quelques mois. En février 2009, une restructuration menaçait l’usine et fît peser de nouvelles incertitudes sur l’avenir de la ligne. L’aventure ferroviaire s’est arrêtée là, mais l’usine est heureusement toujours en place, ainsi que la voie.

A méditer

  • La pérennisation d’une ligne dite « capillaire » (petite ligne industrielle) ne dépend pas que de bonne volonté politique ni de son généreux financement. Elle dépend de l’entreprise qui l’utilise, sachant que beaucoup font partie de grands groupes nationaux ou européens.
  • Il est dangereux de dédier une capillaire à une seule entreprise, comme le démontre cet exemple malheureux. Plusieurs entreprises doivent être installées afin de pallier aux défaillances de l’une d’entre elles.
  • Il serait possible d’impliquer financièrement le(s) entreprise(s) dans les frais de maintenance – voire de reconstruction – de ce type de ligne par le biais de convention “win-win”.

 

 

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