Government Starts Work on Rail Project in Poor Southeastern Mexico

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Middle) announced the ground breaking for the Maya Train infrastructure project on Sunday December 16, 2018. Photo Credit:

The “Maya Train” Begins Its Construction in Southern Mexico

Marti Quintana

Mexico City – President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador inaugurated construction over the weekend of the Maya Train, a colossal infrastructure project and an “act of justice” that is bound to bring a radical change to impoverished southeastern Mexico. “It’s not a caprice or an imposition by someone who happens to come from southeastern Mexico. (This work) is above all an act of justice, because this has been the most neglected region in the country,” the leftist president, born in Tabasco state, said Sunday in a symbolic ceremony to start work on the rail project in Palenque, Chiapas.

Accompanied by representatives of the Maya people, he said it would take four years to finish the 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) of railway that will cross five states: Tabasco, Chiapas, Campeche, Yucatan and Quintana Roo.

The railway has an estimated investment of some $150 billion pesos ($7.38 billion) and will have 15 stops connecting such important points as the seaside resort of Cancun and the ruins of Palenque with other less famous spots like Calakmul and Tenosique.

The president said the economic package for fiscal year 2019, presented on Saturday and which must be approved by the Chamber of Deputies, includes an initial investment of some 6 billion pesos ($295 million) for the train.

“But that’s not enough, and therefore we must combine our resources with private investment,” Lopez Obrador said before calling on business owners and executives to take part in this work by bidding on individual stretches of railway.

“This is a project to reactivate the economy in the southeastern part of the country. To give you an idea, around 10 million tourists visit Cancun but only to enjoy the Caribbean beaches – they never go inland in the southeastern states, where extraordinary cultural treasures exist,” the president said.

There will be three kinds of trains – freight trains, tourism specials and passenger trains – in order to get the most use and profit from the Maya Train, the president said.

The Office of the President said the railway will also be environmentally friendly, since it will use hybrid biodiesel engines, while flora and fauna in the area will be cared for, particularly the wildest ones.

Construction of the Maya Train finally got on the rails to reality this Sunday after 12 years of failed attempts by previous administrations.