Home Headlines More uncertainty about the Maya Train Project in Yucatán

More uncertainty about the Maya Train Project in Yucatán

by Yucatan Times
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In the midst of scattered information on the progress of the Maya Train project, engineer Francisco Javier Gorostiza, a former senior official of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) and of Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México, considers that the only section that could be put into service before the end of the six-year term is section 4, between Mérida and Cancún.

The railroad expert indicates that the information available on the physical progress of earthworks, drainage works, overpasses, bridges, stations, workshops and offices is very fragmented. Therefore, he emphasizes, it is not possible to determine whether the civil works will be completed to put the project into service by the end of 2023.

“Particularly there would be doubts regarding sections 5, 6 and 7, due to the legal injunctions and strong opposition from communities in the region, some in defense of the environment and others demanding fair compensation for their land,” he points out.

“In addition, we must add the complexity of the studies of soil mechanics and construction of the engineering works to place elevated concrete platforms that are being proposed, in order not to affect cenotes and subway rivers between Playa del Carmen and Tulum”.

Last Wednesday and Thursday we published part of the views that Mr. Gorostiza shared with the Diario. Among other things, he pointed out that it is technically impossible for the Mayan Train to come into operation in December 2023.

The following are his comments:

Of the seven sections that make up the project, in my opinion the only one that will be able to be put into public service before the end of the six-year term in 2024 is section 4, between Merida and Cancun. I would like to insist on the importance of leaving the laying of double track on this route for the future, considering that the traffic volumes expected in the medium term do not justify the respective investment for the time being.

Nor do I recommend the electrification of this sector because of its high cost and because it is not compatible with the operation of long-distance freight trains that will necessarily operate with diesel-electric traction.

Undoubtedly, the very probable operation of the Mayan Train between Merida and Cancun will benefit the flow of tourists to the capital of the state of Yucatan, but it is very important to reiterate the need for the passenger terminal to be located within the city of Merida and not in Teya.

Since it is located within the route of Section 4, one aspect to be considered by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) is to regulate access so as not to encourage overuse and deterioration of the archaeological site of Chichén Itzá, which in the first five months of 2022 occupied the first place as the most visited ruin in the country, with Teotihuacán being the second in importance. It would not be remote for Unesco to suggest restricting the number of daily visitors as it did in Machu Picchu, in Peru, for being a world cultural heritage site.

Finally, I emphasize my proposal that, in addition to the definitive cancellation of sections 5, 6 and 7, priority be given to the rehabilitation of tracks and reinforcement of bridges on the existing 330-kilometer section between Coatzacoalcos and Palenque to connect the Mayan Train with the rest of the national railroad network for freight traffic, the only business area with potential economic profitability. This work has already been authorized by the Federal Government and in principle will be in charge of the Secretary of the Navy. However, according to my criteria, this responsibility should correspond to the Undersecretary of Infrastructure, Telecommunications and Transportation, or else, due to its characteristics, its execution and subsequent operation could be concessioned to the private sector.

TYT Newsroom

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