Is extra passenger practice journey in Mexico’s future?

Cancún to Mexico Metropolis. Mexico Metropolis to Nuevo Laredo through Monterrey. Mexico Metropolis to the northern border in Sonora through Guadalajara.

They’re among the many journeys that President López Obrador believes Mexicans ought to have the ability to make by practice. And he has a plan to meet his dream.

Whereas the Maya Prepare undertaking has turn out to be one of the vital defining tasks of President López Obrador’s time period, there are extra plans to extend Mexico’s rail community coming quickly. (Presidencia/Cuartoscuro)

At his morning press convention on Wednesday, López Obrador stated he’s making ready a decree to formally declare that passenger trains have the suitable to run on Mexico’s huge freight railroad community and to announce the federal government’s ambition for that to happen.

The president – as he has beforehand stated – advised reporters that corporations which have concessions for the freight tracks can have first dibs on working passenger trains on them. But when they don’t wish to accomplish that, the federal government will step in, he stated.

López Obrador stated he plans to publish the decree by Nov. 20, and famous it would announce the federal government’s “choice to make the most of … all of the freight railroads of Mexico … for passenger trains.”

He stated that the federal government has the “authorized energy” to make use of the railroad system for passenger trains, and noticed that there are greater than 20,000 kilometers of tracks throughout the nation.

The practice connecting Toluca in México state with Mexico Metropolis has been within the works since 2014. The primary part lastly opened this yr. (Cuartoscuro)

López Obrador has often decried the privatization of Mexico’s railroads in the course of the 1994-2000 presidency of Ernesto Zedillo. He stated final month that the rail system was “given” to “two very massive corporations” – Ferromex and Kansas Metropolis Southern de México – but additionally famous that the federal government entered into an settlement with them that permits the Mexican state to make use of the tracks for passenger trains.

On Thursday, he stated that the concession-holders – specifically Kansas Metropolis Southern de México, Ferromex, Ferrosur and Ferrovalle – could be given first desire to start the operation of passenger trains inside a “affordable” time frame, and famous that the system would require “repairs, modernization and electrification” to permit that to happen.

“If … they resolve they’re not going to supply passenger practice service … we’re going to take the choice that the Mexican authorities will begin a program for the acquisition of passenger trains” to run on the identical tracks as freight trains, López Obrador stated.

He famous that this yr is the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of Mexico’s first railroad (between Mexico Metropolis and Veracruz), earlier than criticizing “irresponsible, corrupt technocrats” for eliminating passenger trains “within the blink of a watch.”

Mexico’s first railroad ran from Mexico Metropolis to Veracruz and was accomplished in 1891. (William Henry Jackson/Wikimedia)

He then outlined his imaginative and prescient for the long run.

“We wish to make it potential to journey from Cancún to Mexico Metropolis by practice. From Mexico Metropolis to Guadalajara and on to Nayarit, Sinaloa, Sonora, to the border. From Mexico Metropolis to Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Monterrey, on to Nuevo Laredo. From Mexico Metropolis to Chihuahua, by practice,” López Obrador stated.

“I’ve to get a transfer on, it’s not expropriation, eh? It’s within the structure and the legislation, it’s simply making use of the suitable we now have to make use of all this infrastructure for the advantage of the individuals. So I’m going to launch the decree earlier than Nov. 20. We’re already engaged on it, letters have already been despatched to the concessionaires inviting them to organize their tasks,” he stated.

López Obrador stated he needed to know by January whether or not “there may be curiosity or not” from the freight rail corporations with a purpose to give his authorities – which can end its six-year time period on the finish of September 2024 – “time to decide.”

Bombardier factory in Ciudad Sahagún.
The Alstom manufacturing unit in Ciudad Sahagún has been the middle of the Mexican railroad manufacturing business for many years. (Guillermo Perea /Cuartoscuro)

“… Maybe they by no means imagined that we have been going to want passenger trains [in the future],” he stated, referring to Zedillo-era officers.

“They assist lots as a result of they take visitors off highways [and generate] much less contamination, López Obrador stated, including that passenger trains are “snug, low cost transport.”

“And, as well as, we now have a practice manufacturing unit in Ciudad Sahagún, [Hidalgo], it belongs to Alstom, a manufacturing unit that makes trains for the entire world.”

If the freight corporations that presently maintain concessions for Mexico’s railroads decline to function passenger trains and the federal government steps in, state-run trains would presumably be in competitors with the soon-to-be launched state-owned airline, Mexicana, on some routes. Whereas Mexicana is slated to begin flying earlier than the top of the yr, López Obrador acknowledged that creating a brand new state-owned practice firm wouldn’t be potential earlier than he leaves workplace.

The interoceanic passenger practice will journey throughout the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. (Gob MX)

“We wouldn’t have time,” however a future authorities may create and “immediately” run new passenger practice companies, “because the Maya Prepare might be run, because the Isthmus [of Tehuantepec]  practice might be run,” he stated with out providing any price estimate.

“… With what we’re doing [with those projects] and two or three different trains, we’re going to go away 3,000 kilometers of tracks for passenger trains. We started the restoration of passenger trains,” López Obrador stated, including that the one passenger companies working when he took workplace have been “El Chepe” – the rail line that hyperlinks Chihuahua metropolis to Los Mochis through the Copper Canyon – and the Guadalajara-Tequila vacationer practice.

(There’s additionally a vacationer practice service between Tijuana and Tecate in Baja California.)

“The whole lot else was handed over [to private companies] and was freight practice strains,” stated the president, whose authorities has spent billions of {dollars} on rail tasks together with the Maya Prepare, the Isthmus undertaking and the Mexico Metropolis-Toluca hyperlink.

El Chepe tourist train
“El Chepe” is  one in all Mexico’s most well-known rail journeys, by way of the gorgeous Copper Canyon between Chihuahua and Los Mochis. (

One other one who has expressed his want to see practice journey in Mexico return to its heyday is Miguel Torruco Garza, a deputy with the ruling Morena get together and son of federal Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco Marqués.

Torruco introduced an initiative within the decrease home of Congress final yr that referred to as for the restoration of Mexico’s passenger practice system, and printed a map to social media that confirmed 11 interconnecting companies he believes may very well be in operation by 2050.

Will passengers at some point have the ability to hop in a practice in Chetumal in Mexico’s far southeast and experience the rails all the best way to Tijuana within the northwest? Solely time will inform.

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