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Plan to place Mayan Train station at La Plancha called dangerous

Advocates of Gran Parque promise to fight federal government's new proposal

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The historic train station at La Plancha. Photo: Courtesy

Merida, Yucatan — The Mayan Train will enter the Centro and make La Plancha a station stop, the federal government said.

It would be Merida’s second Mayan Train station, after one in the south intended to link with a new international airport.

At least 10 civic organizations that have rallied for years to turn La Plancha into a Central Park-type green space are protesting the idea.

La Plancha, which represents the largest vacant parcel in the center of Merida, is home to a 100-year-old former train station, which has been operating as a state-run art school since 2007.

The future of the school is unclear, although remodeling has been ongoing for a year to bring in dance and music departments.

Now the federal government wants to make it a train station again, and house the Mayan Train’s administrative offices there. The Mayan Train is a planned rail line to link Cancun with numerous peninsular destinations for both tourists and cargo.

The Mayan Train was one of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s key infrastructure projects promised during his successful campaign for office in 2018.

The coordinator of the Mayan Train project in Yucatan, Aaron Rosado Castillo, stated that the proposal has been presented to state and city officials.

The previous state administration appeared to have greenlit and funded the Gran Parque La Plancha concept. But work that started at the end of 2017 appears to have stopped. A baseball field in a north corner of the parcel is set to become a Museum of Light run by the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

A park could still co-exist with the museum and rail stop, Rosado Castillo suggested, remarking that “the grounds of the former station have room for that and much more.”

La Plancha already has rail infrastructure and the rights of way to allow the Mayan Train to pass through. But trains going there have been re-routed to Uman, where a modern rail yard takes cargo.

Members of the more than 10 associations collaborated for years to plan and promote the Gran Parque La Plancha were outraged.

Felix Rubio Villanueva, president of the Gran Parque La Plancha AC, said that running the Mayan Train through the Centro would be damaging to the city. Trains in Merida run at street level and signal their approach with a loud whistle.

“The different associations and neighbors that make up Gran Parque La Plancha do not agree with the Aaron Rosado’s approach,” said Rubio Villanueva. “If the train enters Merida it would cause a great loss for the transit of the city, taking into account that it would have to pass through very busy areas from Uman to Avenida Itzaes, which has many crossings, Itzimna and part of Jesus Carranza.”

He vowed that his groups will “do what has to be done to make the park a reality.”

With information from Sipse

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