Report: Fast Train to Chichen Itza, Maya Riviera, On Track

June 16th, 2011 by ejalbright

Train graphic by Juan Carlos Fleicer from www.milenio.com
Proposed route of Yucatan ‘bullet train’, detail of graphic by Juan Carlos Fleicer from www.milenio.com.

It may still be a pipe dream, but at least according to a major Mexican newspaper the fast train project from Merida, the capital of Yucatan state, to Chichen Itza, with connections to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Campeche, is about to leave the station.

Milenio, a national Mexican newspaper, has published a comprehensive report by Rodolfo Montes that demonstrates exactly what the fast train project is and how close it is to becoming reality.

On that latter point, according to Montes’ article negotiations are still ongoing with the federal government. While there is no firm commitment to the project, conversations have been positive. The goal is to get a financial commitment from the federal government into the 2012 budget.

What follows is a translation of the Milenio article:

The transpeninsular, fast train project is almost ready to begin and will link the Mexican states of Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche. Officials estimate that at least a million people will ride the train each year, and thousands of tons of cargo can be transported; the train will run in the morning and the evening, as promoted by Yucatan Governor Ivonne Ortega Pacheco. The first run will be exclusively for passengers and the second for cargo.

In an interview with MILENIO, Secretary of Public Works for Yucatán, Francisco Torres Rivas, said that by next September the state will launch the request for proposals for the project, which has been described as historic, because in “100 years Mexico has not made an investment in the rail system in the country.”

Torres Rivas said “we are currently awaiting the Unidad de Inversión de la Secretaría de Hacienda y Crédito Público (Investment Division of the Mexican Ministry of Finance) to allocate public resources and add them to private resources, after which we expect the approval of the government of Mexican President Felipe Calderon.”

The state has been contacted by representatives from Great Britain, China, Germany, France, and Mexico who are interested in participating in the project, he explained.

To determine the cost/benefit of the project, the World Bank financed surveys of 8,000 people who travel, for example, between Merida to Cancun. The consensus was that the transpeninsular fast train was the optimal solution.

According to the official proposal:

The cost will be 11 billion pesos. In its first stage, the fast train will extend 336 kilometers, from Yucatan to Quintana Roo, with terminals in Merida at one end and Punto Venado at the other. There will be stations in Izamal, Chichen Itza, Valladolid, and Coba.

In a second phase, one extension is being considered to Progreso, the port north of Merida, and to Campeche, which would pass by the Maya ruin of Uxmal. Another spur would be constructed north from Punto Venado to Cancun.

The service is expected to run in two shifts, with passenger traffic from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., and cargo from 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The full trip for passenger traffic (estimated at 400 passengers per trip) is estimated at two hours, at an average speed of 110 kilometers per hour and a maximum speed of 160. For freight service, we present a recommended average speed of 45 kilometers per hour.

Click HERE for the rest of the article.

Previously:

‘Fast Train’ to Chichen Itza Report Due in October

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