President Andrés Manuel López Obrador took the train to Mérida. Yes, that train. The Tren Maya.
He traveled Friday from Campeche to half-built Teya Station and then today heads to Chichén Itzá for a ceremonial opening of a newly readied archaeological site, and then to Cancún.
On the trip, he was accompanied by government officials and owners of the construction companies working on the controversial mega railway line since June 2020. Billionaire Carlos Slim was also on board. Midway along, the train stopped at Maxcanú, where both supporters and detractors gathered.
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It was the first time the Tren Maya rolled publicly since the first cars were delivered in July.
The train was scheduled to reach Mérida by 5 p.m. but was almost six hours late because the train’s four cars crept at a painfully slow 30 kph / 18 mph, and stopped at every station on its path. Once final adjustments are made, they are reported to be able to hit a top speed of 160 kph / 99 mph.
AMLO set a December 2023 deadline for its public use five years after the project was announced.
The railway will cover 1,554 kilometers in southeast Mexico, from Cancún to Palenque. Eventually, there will be 20 Tren Maya stations and 14 bus stops. In future phases, cars will have restaurants, showers and sleeping compartments.