Mayan Train route may be shortened, saving 5 billion pesos

Direct link between Cancun and Valladolid would be eliminated

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Rogelio Jiménez Pons is director of Fonatur, which directs tourism investment in Yucatan. Photo: Courtesy

A revision to the Mayan Train route could chop 5 billion pesos in costs.

The cuts would take away a direct link between Cancun and Valladolid, eliminating 50 kilometers / 31 miles of track, the newspaper Reforma reported.

That would be a significant change to the 1,525-kilometer rail service that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has planned for southeastern Mexico. The Mayan Train would carry both tourists and cargo to ignite the economy of the Peninsula’s more remote areas.

The Gulf section was set to be 653 kilometers long, connecting Escárcega in Campeche to Cancun, crossing the Peninsula from the Gulf to the Caribbean.

A railway already exists on about half of this route, while tracks were expected to be built from scratch running parallel to the Kantunil-Cancún toll highway. The latter would require negotiating with the road concessionaire for the right-of-way.

Under Fonatur’s new concept, the railway would run parallel to the highway for only 70 kilometers from Kantunil to Valladolid. Once reaching Valladolid, the line would run south to the ancient Mayan city of Cobá and then continue to Tulum. From there, the line would link to Cancun.

This change would help the government save 5 billion pesos / US$262 million since no bridges or other complementary infrastructure would have to be built, said Fonatur director Rogelio Jiménez Pons.

A final decision on this matter is expected in less than a week, said Jiménez Pons.

Investment in the project is currently estimated at 120-150 billion pesos. The project will be tendered in seven construction contracts, plus one to provide the locomotives and an additional one to choose an operator.

A section of the proposed route for the project’s Caribbean section is also expected to link Tulum and Cancún.

Jiménez Pons also announced that the rail network will have its central offices in Merida.

“It is a very cosmopolitan city,” said Jiménez Pons of the Yucatan state capital, adding that “the only one that competes with it is Cancun, but the location of Cancun is very extreme.”

Sources: Reforma, AM

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