Construction of Mayan Train to start on December 17

The train will have an extension of 1,525 kilometers, out of which 95% has right of way

Construction of Mayan Train to start on December 17
The German conglomerate Siemens is interested in participating in the Mayan Train operation - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 14/12/2018 16:34 Notimex Mexico City Actualizada 16:34

This Sunday, in Palenque, representatives from 12 indigenous peoples of Chiapas, will ask Mother Earth for permission to build Mexico's Mayan Train.

The Mexican Government, as well as the governments of states through which the train will pass, will perform the “Ritual of Indigenous Peoples to Mother Earth for the Approval of the Mayan Train” in Edzná and Becán (Campeche), Chichén Itzá (Yucatán), Tenosique (Tabasco), and Tulum (Quintana Roo) simultaneously.

The Mayan Train has promised to be a comprehensive project for infrastructure development in southeast Mexico. It is meant to benefit indigenous peoples, attract tourism, and generate economic growth. It aims to be an inclusive and sustainable project that protects natural resources, as well as the historic and cultural heritage of Mexico.

The rehabilitation of the existing railroads that go from Palenque to Valladolid, passing through Campeche and Mérida, will start on December 17.

The train will have an extension of 1,525 kilometers, out of which 95% has right of way. At the end of its first stage, there will be 15 stations spread across five states: Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo.

In order to minimize the environmental and social impact of the project, the government will use rights of way that are currently in place for railroads, highways, and high-voltage transmission lines from the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE).

The private sector speaks up

Mexico has lost ground in the passenger rail transport sector, with only one passenger train line in the north (Chihuahua-Sinaloa) and a suburban train at its center, which is why the Mayan Train has the potential to improve connectivity for the population of southeast Mexico and boost their economy. Furthermore, the train could be one of the greatest in Latin America in terms of technology, experts say.

Experts have pointed out that, though Mexico ranks 11th in its railway network, its extension is very limited compared with the size of the national territory. Its passenger operation basically ended shortly after the privatization of National Railways of Mexico (FNM), during the six-year term of president Ernesto Zedillo.

According to Inbound Logistics Latam, Germany has 41,896 kilometers of railroad spread across 357,022 square kilometers of territory. Spain possesses 15,947 kilometers within a 505,370 square-kilometer territory.

By contrast, Mexico has 26,704 kilometers of railway in a surface of 1.96 million square kilometers. Argentina and Brazil have the largest railway networks in Latin America.

The German conglomerate Siemens is interested in participating in said project.

“Most of Europe’s railway network is owned by Siemens. We could participate in every level of the train’s operation chain, including energy generation, transmission, electrification of railway, signaling, and the automation and digitization of trains,” commented Juan Ignacio Díaz, CEO of Siemens in Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.

He considers that the Mayan Train could become the first smart train in Mexico and Latin America, since German technology is able to deliver a comfortable and automated train that works like a clock.

Furthermore, the incorporation of cutting-edge technology into the transport systems that Siemens has put in operation in Europe has allowed for a 30% reduction in electricity consumption.