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Rails for the Mayan Train are being laid near Chichén Itzá

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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.
Testing of rail systems has begun on Section 4 of the Mayan Train, but is it all just for show? Photo: Fonatur

Rails are now being laid near Chichén Itzá for the first tests of the Mayan Train.

The steel rails are being installed atop bases of reinforced concrete specially designed to carry the Mayan Train’s heavy load. 

Authorities have not said how long this section of test rail will be, or if any trains will actually be used to conduct the test. 

The news comes several months after the first rail shipments began to arrive from China in May. 

It has also been announced that the official in charge of the construction of the Mayan Train in Yucatán, Aarón Rosado Castillo, has decided to leave his post. 

Rosado Castillo Made the announcement via Twitter but did not elaborate on his reasons for leaving the job —  which remains vacant for the time being.

The Mayan Train rail project is slated for completion by 2023, according to official government sources. But critics have expressed concern that this timeline is no longer realistic. 

“It is unlikely that the project will be complete by the time the president’s term is up,” said Héctor Ovalle of Coconal construction in a video conference call with Mexico’s college of civil engineers. 

Earlier: Mexico reverses on Mayan Train station, plans new La Plancha stop in 2025

It has been widely speculated that if this were to happen and the opposition were to win the presidency, the project would likely be scrapped or drastically cut back.

Last week, the Mexican government seized 198 lots of land in Quintana Roo along Phase 5 of the Mayan Train’s path in an effort to speed up construction. 

Though controversial, the move is legal as the prerogative is granted to the federal government by the Mexican constitution — but only when it comes to “matters of national interest.”

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has justified the action by arguing that it’s in the best interest of the nation, as the rail network will stimulate the economy and create thousands of jobs.

Changing project timelines and a series of legal setbacks have caused the Maya Train budget to inflate well over 30% to 180 billion pesos.

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