During the first half of December, the new president of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, announced that the plan for the Yucatan Peninsula’s fast train will be underway in the near future. The first phase of the train project will connect the Playa del Carmen real estate area (Punto Venado) to the Merida real estate area, connecting to Chichen Itza and various colonial towns (like Valladolid) and pyramid sites along the way; the total length of this first phase will be 209 miles (336 km).
The train system will include both passenger trains and cargo trains.
In a second stage, the project will connect Merida to the nearby beachfront town of Progress as well as to the Mayan site at Uxmal and Campeche to the west; in the east of the Peninsula, it will connect Playa del Carmen with the Cancun real estate and Tulum real estate areas.
The total investment is currently designated at $11 billion pesos, which is approximately $900 million USD.
As various posts on this blog over the past few years have shown, there have been proposals and plans for the train since about 2007 (mostly from the state government of Yucatan); however, the federal government has now taken clear action to put the plan into effect, with President Pena Nieto promoting the project as one of the first of his presidency.
In fact, the Investment Unit of the Ministry of Finance has already announced that the Trans-Peninsular Fast Rail project is registered, after three years of negotiations and counseling by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the necessary funding.
The final item needed to launch the project is the signature of the new Finance Minister Luis Videgaray.
News reports state that the project that is already on the desk of the new finance minister, the Secretary of Communications and Transport, Gerardo Ruiz Esparza, and other key federal government members, implying that the project is very close to being launched.
Upon gaining the signature of the finance minister, public funds will be allocated to supplement the private investment, and the project will gain the final government approval of President Pena Nieto, who has already voiced his support for the project.
Let’s hope that the project gets the endorsement needed to move ahead without delays!
Details of Service
The service is expected to be divided into two schedules; passenger trains will run from 6 am until 11 at night, and freight from 11 pm until 6 am.
The governments of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo (the three states of the Yucatan Peninsula) estimate that travel time from one end of the route to the other (Playa del Carmen to Merida) will be two and half hours, at an average speed of about 70 mph (110 kph) and a maximum of 100 mph (160 kph). Freight service will run at 45 kilometers per hour.
It is expected that each trip will carry 400 passengers, although the model of train cars to be used has not yet been defined. There are three options fuel: diesel, biodiesel and electricity.
The estimated usage is one million passengers per year.
The construction of this Trans-Peninsular Fast Train has attracted interest from some nations like Britain, which through its embassy has made contact with the state governments to introduce firms interested in being involved in the project. There has also been interest shown from companies from China, Germany and France, as well as several from Mexico.
To determine the cost and benefits of the project, the World Bank financed the surveys of eight thousand people who move from Merida to Cancun. According to the newspaper Melinio, the result was unanimous: the Trans-Peninsular Fast Train would be the top choice of transportation.
We will keep you up to date on the government progress of approving the project, and any following developments.
Thomas Lloyd graduated from Purdue University Krannert School of Management with a degree in Management/Financial Option Investments. He has been living, investing, and working professionally in Mexico for over 16 years. In the summer of 2009, he received the first federally applied Mexico Real Estate Degree and Mexico Professional Real Estate License S.E.P. #5978657. He is the president of Top Mexico Real Estate. Contact him at (512) 879-6546.
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