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New Mayan Train route to run directly over cenotes

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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.
Mexico’s federal government has announced that section 5 of the Mayan will include large overpasses designed to avoid the caving-in of cenotes. Photo: Courtesy

Environmentalists are expressing concern over plans to run tracks for the Mayan Train above caves and cenotes in Quintana Roo. 

Structural and civil engineers have argued that the weight of the train would be far too heavy for such terrain but say they have come up with a solution.

As a workaround plans have been announced to build an 85-foot overpass over this section of route 5 of the Mayan Train.

But despite the use of reinforced steel and concrete, environmentalists argue that cave-ins are a real possibility, especially near Tulum where a particularly large number of unregistered cave networks sit bellow an extremely porous limestone foundation.  

“The entire peninsula is full of caves and cenotes and the government has really not done its homework here. They just come in and decide they are going to do what they want regardless of the impact and that is just crazy,” said Mario Tún, a resident of the town of Yaxcabá 

Earlier: Piste residents angry as new Mayan train station is moved out of town

There is also the fact that cave-ins blamed on Mayan Train construction have already been documented in the area, as large sections of new highways have collapsed into caverns below

Earlier this year a large section of the highway became unusable when a section of it collapsed into a sinkhole which turned out to be a cenote. Photo: Courtesy

Though the exact price tag for the overpass has not been released, the new overpass contributes significantly to the recently announced 92% budget increase reported for the Mayan Train overall. 

The original budget for the Mayan Train stood at nearly 8 billion dollars back in 2020 but has now ballooned to nearly three times this original figure. 

The Mayan Train route is to span Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo. 

The rail line is one of President Lopéz Obrador’s most ambitious infrastructure projects and is designed to stimulate tourism in the region and contribute to the economic development of southeastern Mexico.

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