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Friday, July 1, 2022

Could plans for the new La Plancha park spell the end for Mérida’s rail museum?

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Trains, such as those on display at Mérida’s rail museum were key to Yucatán’s development in the 19th century as they connected the Peninsula’s many henequen plantations with ports such as Sisal. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The new deal between the state and the federal government is to make 100% of La Plancha’s land into a public park. 

But the operators of Mérida’s railway museum say that they have not been consulted.

“This is a very special place and it would be a shame to let it die after 20 years. That is why we are continuing to fight to keep it open,” said the museum administrator, Pedro Garrido.

Mérida’s rail museum is across from La Plancha park but is often considered part of the same government-owned property. 

“The rail museum is great, the government should really start supporting it. It would be such a shame if they just turned it into parking or something,” Manuel Martinez, a fan of the museum, said on Facebook. 

The rail museum features a great number of train carriages and locomotives spanning Yucatán’s railway history. Most of the wagons and locomotives on display date to the late 19th century through the 1980s.

A brightly colored blue-and-red locomotive that saw action in Yucatán during the 1960s and ‘70s. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

On most days the museum does not receive that many visitors. According to Pedro Garrido, it is not unusual for the museum to not attract any visitors at all during weekdays.

In recent years the museum has also begun hosting social events and festivals on its grounds, including the “Festival del taco” held last November. 

Earlier: Residents take action to clear La Plancha of garbage

The rail museum is particularly attractive for children, as its wide-open spaces and ample opportunities for climbing the trains are sure to get them excited.

Keep in mind that some of the ladders at the Railway Museum are not exactly sturdy, and require a modest degree of strength to climb. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

The future of Mérida’s La Plancha park has been a hot topic among Centro residents for years, with authorities constantly flip-flopping on plans for its future. 

The new plan also brings into doubt the viability of plans to build a Tren Maya Station on the grounds of La Plancha in 2025.

Mérida’s former train station at La Plancha has gone unused for decades and is now part of the grounds of the ESAY, Yucatán’s art college. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
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