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End of an era at La Plancha; freight trains now go to Umán

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A train hauls away trains at La Plancha. Photo: LectorMX

Mérida, Yucatán — It’s the end of the line for La Plancha’s life as a maneuvering yard for trains.

Ferrocarril del Istmo de Tehuantepec has registered the new railway station in Umán, putting the Railway Operations Center on the national rail network’s map.

That means companies that ship their goods by train understand that Umán is where those goods will be loaded and unloaded, said Guillermo Cortés González, the state’s technical secretary of Planning and Evaluation.

La Plancha’s huge parcel of land, north of the historic train station building that today is an art school, was not the most efficient maneuvering yard. For decades, trains chugged at ground level through the Centro, blocking traffic and endangering drivers.

Tractor trailer trucks, which would idle at La Plancha to meet those trains, will also be in Umán instead.

And in place of all those trains and trucks, there will be a green space and cultural activities on acres of land in the Centro.

But none of this would have been possible without offering a benefit to the shipping industry. Establishing a new, modern station outside of the city — and closer to Hunucmá’s industrial sites — has shortened travel times and expanded capacity.

“At La Plancha you could only receive five cars at the same time; In the Operations Center you can receive 50,” said Cortés González.

Freight cars haven’t traveled to La Plancha since Thursday, Feb. 8.

Trains mainly deliver sacks of cement, steel, grains, malt, barley and general container cargo. From the Operations Center in Poxilá, Umán, the products go by road to their final destinations.

In exchange for this new railway infrastructure, the federal government transferred land rights at La Plancha to the state government, which will develop a large park there.

Part of La Plancha also served as a locomotive graveyard with 67 abandoned locomotives and rail cars. Of those, 20 have been hauled away. Work was been suspended until special equipment arrives to move the heaviest objects. That equipment is expected to arrive this week.

Source: Diario de Yucatán

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