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Mexico scraps plans for Mayan Train tunnel at La Plancha

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The historic train station at La Plancha. Photo: Courtesy

The National Fund for Tourism Promotion (Fonatur) has withdrawn plans to run a train tunnel through the center of Merida to bring passengers to La Plancha.

Rather, officials said that the city’s station stop will be south of the city.

The Mayan Train was to travel through a 4-kilometers / 2.5-mile tunnel before reaching La Plancha, said Fonatur’s director, Rogelio Jiménez Pons in January.

Although a station there would form a gateway to the Centro Historico, advocates for a new park at La Plancha fought the idea.

“We don’t want a train station, we want a park as promised,” said Felix Rubio Villanueva, director of the Gran Parque La Plancha civic group, which demands 80 percent of the total surface of the site be covered with trees or shrubbery.

Others worried that the nature of Merida’s soil, and its underground water systems, would make a tunnel impractical and ecologically unsound.

The current Fonatur proposal includes stations in Izamal, Chichen Itza, Valladolid and Merida. The Chichen Itza station is expected to be the most prominent. The Merida station is projected to bring intermediate passenger demand. It will have three tracks and two platforms.

On his last visit, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that administrative offices for the Mayan train would likely be situated at La Plancha.

The previous governor of Yucatan, Rolando Zapata Bello, promised La Plancha would not only be built, but also be comparable to the Fundidora de Monterrey Park and Central Park in New York City.

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