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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The company that built the collapsed Mexico City subway line is now working on the Maya Train

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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.
The L12 line of Mexico city’s subway system collapsed this morning killing 24. Photo: Courtesy

The company responsible for the construction of the faulty L12 subway line in Mexico City is also working on the Maya Train in Yucatán and Quintana Roo. 

The L12 subway line in Mexico City collapsed just this morning, killing 24 and injuring dozens. 

According to several reports, the L12 line presented serious structural flaws dating back to when it first entered service in 2012.

Critics in Yucatán and Quintana Roo are wondering if the Maya Train could present similar structural problems.

The construction company in charge of both projects, Ingenieros Civiles Asociados, says that the L12 line last underwent inspection in 2020 and had no major issues. 

One of the issues which may have contributed to the accident is a lack of consistency in construction standards. These discrepancies were apparently caused because some of the systems were built to American specifications, while others followed European standards.

The French consulting firm Systra claims that it is likely that design flaws pertaining to the curvature of the tracks may have also been a contributing factor.

The construction of the L12 subway line ended up costing Mexico City, 26 million pesos, an amount 70% larger than initially projected by the construction company. 

Earlier: Tren Maya leads to amazing discovery of over 8000 archaeological remains in Yucatán

The infrastructure project was built during the administration of Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who is widely considered the likely successor to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Last December, a federal judge in Yucatán granted a suspension against the construction of the Maya Train. The Third District Court cited a lack of both transparency and consultation with indigenous communities in the Maya Train’s path, said the Kanan human rights group.

But despite the ruling and a couple of others, construction has continued unabated. 

In an effort to appease environmental concerns, the Mexican government announced last February that the Maya Train would run on renewable energy. 

Rogelio Jimenez Pons, director-general of the National Fund for Tourism Promotion (Fonatur), said they could begin work on four solar farms to power the project as early as this year, including one at Cancún airport and possibly others at Mérida, Campeche, and Chetumal.

These and other modifications to the budget for the Maya Train have increased projected costs by 30%. The current estimated cost is now 156 billion pesos. 

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