The heavy earthquakes and heavy rainfall in some regions of the country had and impact on rail traffic. Rain led to disruption on the Nuevo Laredo – Ciudad de México main line, in particular on northern sections. However, after a few days freight traffic could resume.
Earthquakes temporarily halted underground and suburban traffic in and around Ciudad de México, but after a few hours and thorough checks, all lines could be re-opened. Only the southernmost section of the suburban line México Buenavista to Cuatitlán remained closed for almost 12 hours after the first earthquake as some buildings close to the railway perimeter had to be secured.
The Ferrocarril del Istmo de Tehuantepec FIT was hit the hardest between Matías Romero and Ixtepec. Earthquakes debilitated the track, and the coinciding heavy rainfall led to scouring at some spots. The Matías Romero railway station suffered severe damage, and the station building will remain out of use for an extended period of time. Two weeks after the heavy earthquake off the Pacific coast, trains with aid goods were able to run as far as Juchitán, and repair work on three severely damaged sections south of Ixtepec had been completed by railway staff in cooperation with civil protection.
The urban railway of Guadalajara began operating the first unit of a fleet of 12 new 2-car trains in September 2017. Delivery of further units is currently under way, and the last of the trains, built by Bombardier at Ciudad Sahagún (Hidalgo state, México), is expected to enter service in November 2017.
Avoiding line Celaya
Ferromex has been issued an extension of its freight traffic concession by the Secretary of Transport, in exchange for agreeing to build a 25 km long avoiding line around the city of Celaya. As it transpired at the end of April 2017, 17,5 km of this new line have already been completed, with the remaining 7,5 km in a widely progressed state. At a later stage, a new branch line to the local airport will have its junction at kilometre post 24,68 of the avoiding line. The new line will alleviate traffic pressure in Celaya city centre because frequent shunts take place there leading to lengthy disruption on many streets as long as the old line is in traffic.
Zinacantepec - Pino Suárez
On 12th June 2017, the first test runs started between Zinacantepec and Pino Suárez, which is the western end of the new railway line Mexico City – Toluca. One of the new CAF electric trains, delivered in January 2017, was used for this. In the initial phase, those runs took place at very low speed, but they will now gradually be accelerated. The aforementioned section is the first with fully functional infrastructure, signalling and electrification. The test runs will also be used for staff training purposes of all grades involved in operations.
(Source: Revista Noticias)
Avoiding line at Monterrey
Construction of an avoiding line for freight trains has begun at Monterrey. Once completed, the current track alignment will be made available to the city for the expansion of the urban (public transport) rail system.
Avoiding line at Celaya
Also at Celaya, an avoiding line is under construction. Allegedly, too many goods were stolen from trains when they passed the urban perimeter. As at Monterrey, these works are in great part funded by the state.
Guadalajara – Manzanillo
Ferromex plan to close its 355 km-long Guadalajara – Manzanillo line, as the 500 containers per month carried on behalf of Maersk are not sufficient to make operation of the line economically viable. There is a potential of other freight (petroleum products from Pemex, construction material, agricultural products), but they are not using the rail mode.
(Source: Ferromex, various local newspapers)
Ferromex have completed refurbishment of its „Tequila Express“ tourist train; this included repainting of locomotives in two shades of grey. It is expected that the train will run again regularly within the next few months, although no exact starting date has been given as yet.
The locomotives of the Chepe (Chihuahua – Los Mochis) have been repainted in the same manner.
As Ferromex informs, operation of its passenger trains between Chihuahua and Los Mochis suffers frequent disruption on the Creel – Chihuahua section due to civil unrest in the Chihuahua and Cuauhtémoc regions. Passengers will travel on bus substitution services, provided the roads are not blocked.
(Source: Ferromex; Tequila Express)
Mexiko DF - Toluca
According to Mexican press reports from August 2016, 33,1% of the infrastructure of the 58 km long new railway line Mexico DF - Toluca have been completed with work progressing as planned. The first 5-car trains of the fleet (30 trains) are also under construction. Pillars have been erected on long stretches of the future alignment, as the railway will partly be built on viaducts. On the other hand, costs have virtually exploded from MX$ 7,112 billion to MX$ 17,84 billion, but the Finance Ministry has approved additional funding to cover the costs.
The project now includes a direct link to Toluca airport at Tecnológico station, for which the trains will feature storage room for luggage. This should make it possible for air passengers to check-in directly at the railway stations. Operation of the line should start in April 2018. Standard frequency will be a train every 10 minutes, increased to 2.5 minutes with double units during peak periods. Daily capacity is expected to be 230'000 passengers.
Ciudad Hidalgo - Tecún Umán
With help from Mexico, reconstruction of the cross-border line from Ciudad Hidalgo (Mexico) to Tecún Umán (Guatemala) has started. As in the past, the 1,3 km long section will be fitted with two track gauges (1435 mm and 914 mm). The main purpose is to establish connection to a petroleum deposit operated by Pemex in Guatemala, but it is intended that general freight traffic including exportations from Guatemala will also use the line. The line has been closed since 2005 after being destroyed by the impact of hurrican “Stan”.
According to sources in Guatemala, the government is planning to extend and rebuild the line to the outskirts of the capital, Ciudad de Guatemala, in order to revert freight traffic back to the rail mode. Funding for this has, however, not yet been secured.
(Source: El Periódico)
Ferromex suspended the Tourist Train Tequila Express between Guadalajara and Amatitán for an undefined period to refurbish the coaches. In the meantime a bus company is operating a Tequila-Express with road coaches.
(Source: Volta o Trem 19-8)
New Station in Tijuana
A new station has been built at Tijuana, very close to the border crossing to San Ysidro/San Diego. The station may be used by the tourist train to Tecate and the future local train services in the region.
(Source: Volta o Trem 19-7)
Ferromex acquired another 19 diesel locomotives of the EMD SD70ACe type, which brings this now to 116 of 4300 hp locomotives in service. Ferrosur SA acquired also 15 locomotives of this class, which means that Ferrosur operates EMD locomotives for the first time.
(Source: Volta o Trem 19-4)
Stop of Work Ciudad de México – Toluca
Protests have halted construction of the Ciudad de Méxcio – Toluca railway line. The protest groups blame the government of corruption and demand a repetition of the tendering process for this project. A partial re-alignment of the planned line has also been requested. The Secretary for Transport of the federal government has then dictated a stop of all work until further notice.
(Source: Various sources incl. Sin Embargo)
New Bridge between USA and Mexico
On 31st March 2015, the seventh railway bridge (and the first after 106 years!) between the USA and Mexico was openend. The bridge carries a new railway line from Brownsville (USA) to Matamoros (Mexico) and connects the network of Union Pacific in the USA to the one of Kansas City Southern of Mexico. This crossing of the Rio Grande river is located about 23 km upstream from Brownsville. Some US$ 40 Mio were spent in the USA and another US$ 80 Mio in Mexico for construction of the bridge and access lines. At Brownsville, the new track alignment allowed for the removal of tracks in the city streets.
(Source: The Monitor)
Tren Turístico Tijuana Tecate
The Tijuana Tecate Tourist Train is running again, about once monthly, dates are published at very short notice. The trip includes a two hour journey to Tecate, visit of brewery, meals and music and a 2 hour journey back to Tijuana.
(Source: Volta o Trem 19-3)
Ciudad de México – Toluca
Thales will plan and build the signal systems of the new Mexcio City – Toluca railway.
(Source: Volta o Trem 19-1)
Readvertisement of high-speed link Ciudad de México – Querétaro
The construction of the new high-speed link Ciudad de México – Querétaro which was postponed following corruption suspicions, will be re-advertised on 14th January 2015. The expected amount of investment is USD 3,5 billion.
(Source: Revista Ferroviária)
Ciudad Hidalgo - Tecún Umán
México and Guatemala have agreed to re-build the railway line from Ciudad Hidalgo (Mexico) and Tecún Umán (Guatemala). The river bridge across the border was destroyed by a hurricane a few years ago and no action has been taken ever since. There is a strong interest in Guatemala to re-open the line as that country imports petrol products from Mexico via Tecún Umán which creates an important demand for transport. On the Mexican side, the already re-built line from Ixtepec and Tapachula leads close to Ciudad Hidalgo; only a few kilometres of track and the bridge have to be re-built.
(Source: Prensa Libre)
Ciudad de México – Toluca
December 20, 2014 was the first day of construction of the third and last section of the new passenger railway Ciudad de México – Toluca. This section will be built completely as an elevated railway between the metro station Observatorio and La Marquesa and may be completed within 730 days.
(Source: Volta o Trem 18-9)
Diesel Locomotives SD70Ace ordered
The railway companies Ferromex and Ferrosur have placed a joint order with EMD in the United States for 34 diesel locomotives of the SD70Ace class. Ferromex will get 19 locomotives, and this represents already the third batch of engines from EMD to that operator. Ferrosur will receive the remaining 15 new locomotives, but in this case these will be the first EMD engines as Ferrosur only operated locomotives from General Electric. Both railways have contracted the manufacturer for the maintenance with a duration of 11 years. Delivery is expected to start from June 2015, and the locomotives will meet the most recent emission standards applicable in the United States from 01 January 2015, although Mexico applies these standards to road vehicles only.
Ferrocarril Tijuana & Tecate is under modernisation
The Ferrocarril Tijuana & Tecate FCT & T in the far northwest of Mexico is currently under modernisation. A stretch of 2,5 km will be completely relaid, and on an other 30 km a number of 60'000 new sleepers will be fitted. The last bits of 100 years old rails will also be replaced. The El Matucano bridge and tunnel no. 3 will both be fully refurbished. Tijuana railway station will be extended with 4 additional tracks and a transfer and storage shed will be built at Garcia station. Volume of investment by FCT&T is about MX$ 200 Mio.
(Source: Frontera Info)
Infrastructurprojects in Baja California
The Governor of the Baja California state, Francisco Vega de la Madrid, has contacted the government of South Korea as well as major firms of that Asian country in order to attract investors for infrastructure projects in his state. The focus is on railway construction. Items on the list of projects are the re-introduction of passenger trains between Tijuana and Tecate, the construction of a railway line from Tecate to Ensenada for passenger trains to the new airport at Ensenada, but also to connect the new port of El Sauzal. Apart of this, a few road projects and improvements of water and power supply in the region are also part of the scheme. The governor hopes to create some 47'000 jobs with these projects.
(Source: Frontera Info)
Ocoyoacac - Cuajimalpa
The Mexican Secretary for Communication and Transport invited Tenders for construction of the 4,6 km long tunnel between Ocoyoacac and Cuajimalpa early April 2014. The planned passenger train line México City – Toluca will pass through this tunnel. Earlier on construction of the 36 km long section from Zinacantepec (in Toluca) to the tunnel was called for tenders and the remaining section of 18 km from the tunnel to the Observatório station at México City will follow soon. The entire line follows mostly the existing line but will be doble tracked and electrified. Four intermediate stations will be built and opening is planned for 2017.
(Source: Volta o Trem 14-3)
The House of Representatives of the mexican parliament has passed a law which changes the concessions of the private railway operators in Mexico. The law intends to establish a cap to track access fees and to guarantee open access to any train operator. Also, the private freight train operators should not be able to block the introduction of passenger trains (whether state-run or private) on the lines concessioned to them. The new law, which has the support of state president Nieto, is being strongly opposed by the two major, US-dominated railway companies Ferromex and KCSM because both of them have invested huge sums in the improvement of their respective trunk lines; they also have almost a monopoly for freight transport in the areas served. The two companies are currently lobbying the Senate and try to convince the members of the upper house to not pass the law or at least introduce major changes in it. At this moment, the outcome is still open.
(Source: Various newspapers and The Economist)
Ciudad de México - Querétaro
The new passenger rail line from Ciudad de México to Querétaro may be built for a maximum speed of 300 km/h. The governments plan indicates a journey of 63 minutes for the more than 200 km long line. To speed up the project the city of Querétaro may get first a station in the Eastern outskirts, follwed later by another more centrally located station. The estimated number of daily passengers may reach 11'200. Against first plans no intermediate stations may be built.
(Source: Volta o Trem 14-2)
México – Toluca
Construction of the electric suburban railway from Ciudad de México to Toluca may be announced soon. The line may be suitable for speeds up to 160 km/h and the rolling-stock may be able to run also on tracks of the underground railway in the capital. In a second phase building of Merida-Cancún railway may be called for tender.
(Source: Volta o Trem 14-1)
The devastating rainfall at the Gulf coast, caused by the tropical storm „Ingrid“ in mid-September 2013, and hurricane „Manuel“ at the Pacific coast didn't just distroy many important road connections but also affected the railway network. First-hand information told that the line Morelia – Lázaro Cárdenas of KCSM, which usually sees some 10 to 12 freight trains per day, was washed out or disrupted by landslides at over 20 locations. Repair work started immediately, and traffic slowly resumed.
The line Guadalajara – Manzanillo was heavily damaged near Sayula by flooding.
The Ferromex line Monterrey – Tampico was destroyed near Atenquique by landslides. Ferromex could, however, assure that the „Chepe“ passenger train between Chihuahua and Los Mochis wasn't cancelled at any time, although there was heavy rainfall in the Los Mochis area.
For the first time in many years, repair work is carried out on the freight line Coatzacoalcos – Mérida, as freight trains derailed on multiple occasions, particularly in the Mérida area. A major quantity of sleepers and rails has been delivered to Campeche (173 km from Mérida). These track materials will be used first for the repair of the Mérida – Campeche section, followed by sections of line westbound to Tenosique. It is hoped that those repairs will contribute to considerably increase freight tonnage from and to Yucatán and make the line attractive enough to be concessioned again.
During 2013, the government has repaired the railway line through Chiapas state from Ixtepec to Tapachula on its full length. It had been destroyed by Hurricane „Stan“ some years ago at several places. At this occasion, an avoiding line around the city of Tapachula has been built, eliminating the crossing of the city centre which partially was in tramway style. The new line will also connect to an upgraded port between Tapachula and Ciudad Hidalgo. Freight traffic to Ciudad Hidalgo near the border with Guatemala will also be possible. The mexican petrol firm Pemex even requests the reconstruction of the track to the storage tanks in Tecún Umán, already in Guatemala. That facility used to be a freight customer in the past and was the reason for the double-gauge track across the international bridge. However, no negotiations between the two countries about the matter have taken place yet. It would be necessary to build a new bridge across the river which forms the border, as the old one was damaged too much by the hurricane.
Long-distance passenger trains again?
More and more details are being revealed by the state president Enrique Peña Nieto about his plans to build new passenger lines. In November 2013 it was announced that a maximum of 100 billion mexican Pesos would be spent. The focus is now on three lines, as opposed to plans of former governments.
Ciudad de México – Querétaro, 235 km: this will be a newly built line, as the freight concessionaire KCSdeM „won't tolerate any passenger trains“ on its line, according to declarations from the executive level of that railway operator. Maximum line speed will be 240 kph – the only high-speed line of the three planned, and a daily number of 12'000 passengers is expected. The trains will use the existing suburban line from the Central Station to Huehuetoca (44 km) and then use the new line. At a later stage, the line could be extended towards the north and the northwest which proves that projects for passenger train lines to Guadalajara and San Luís Potosí are not entirely forgotten and ruled out.
Ciudad de México – Toluca, 75 km: This line will partly use the existing but unused line linking the two cities (again KCSdeM being the concessionaire). It will rather be suburban-style and be operated with electric trainsets able to use the metro network of the capital city. Trains would therefore start at the Metro station „Observatorio“ and not at the central station. Frequent trains should carry some 250'000 passengers daily.
There have already been numerous calls in the past to build the third line which will connect Mérida and Cancún, about 325 km apart. Maximum speed will be just 160 kph as the line will also be available to freight trains. The existing line from Mérida to Valladolid will be used for the first 160 km; that section will be integrally relaid and partially re-aligned. At present, freight trains are running to Valladolid, carrying mainly liquid fuels, but the cement manufacturer CEMEX is planning to build a cement factory at the line. On top of it, the new line will also facilitate transport of agricultural products and generally impulse agriculture. The line will, therefore, have an importance which stretches far beyond local transport and tourism.
During a public meeting about communication and transport which took place at the end of June, state president Enrique Peña Nieto declared that it is the duty of the state to improve the transport infrastructure. The government will provide funding to the tune of 310 Billion Pesos, still in 2013, to upgrade ports and construction of long-distance passenger lines.
The ports of Lázaro Cárdenas, Manzanillo and Veracruz, all served by railway lines, will be integrally upgraded and their handling capacity increased.
The government then urges construction of three passenger railway lines:
Ciudad de México – Querétaro, by upgrading the existing tracks
Ciudad de México – Toluca, by partly upgrading the existing line and partly rebuilding it on a new alignment.
Tren Transpeninsular Yucatán – Quintana Roo, from Mérida to Chetumal and Cancún, newly built line. The detail project of this line was to be published in July 2013, however, opposition against this project is particularly strong among the population of Mérida.
(Source: dif. Mexican Newspapers)
Interest in the Central American countries for the Feristsa project has grown after freight traffic resumed between Ixtepec and Tapachula. Guatemala announced that it would promote the project of a rail link between Mexico and Panamá along with the Spanish state railway Renfe. A number of private Spanish firms also expressed their interest in the matter.
(Source: dif. Mexican Newspapers; La Nación (Honduras))
Ixtepec und Tapachula
The Ixtepec – Tapachula line has been reopenend through-out for freight traffic.
(Source: Volta o Trem 17-4)
The reconstruction of the Ixtepec – Tapachula line in the federal state of Chiapas is finally making good progress. That line and most of its numerous bridges were destroyed by hurricane “Stan” in 2005. Freight trains are running over almost the full length of the line, and there are sections which see 3 trains per week and direction. In Tapachula, the line will be built on an entirely new alignment and will reach the city from the south instead from the west as originally. A new bridge across Rio Coatán is already in place, but problems with land expropriations caused delays to the construction of the accesses to the new bridge.
The reconstruction of the line will also help to expand the Pacific port of Puerto Chiapas/Puerto Madero near Tapachula.
Freight trains of the Tapachula – Ixtepec line are heavily frequented by migrant workers travelling from their homes in Central America to North America. Assaults on those “passengers” are almost the order of the day.
Coatzcoalcos - Mérida
According to local newspapers State president Calderón, at the end of its term, wanted to dismantle the Coatzacoalcos – Mérida line and stopped rehabilitation of the Mérida – Progreso line, because of the rundown infrastructure and the low traffic density. But dismantling took not place. Until the end of 2012 the lines to Yucatán and Tapachula may get a new operator, currently FerroSur is operating the lines on behalf of state-owned Ferrocarril del Istmo de Tehuantepec FIT. Currently freight trains operate 2 to 3 times per week between Ixtepec and Tapachula; about weekly Veracruz - Coatzacoalcos and Coatzacoalcos – Mérida, with some others on shorter sections and nearly daily between Mérida and Valladolid. Petroleum products and cement are the main comodities on the branch line to Valladolid.
Newly elected president Nieto has another railway policy. He asked the state secretary for transport SCT to invite bids for concessions for the following passenger train operations: México – Querétaro using the existing line, no TGV-Project; México – Toluca; a new line from Yucatán to Quintana Roo state, and expansion of the urban railways of Guadalajara and Monterrey.
(Source: Volta o Trem 16-8)
The local train Tarahumara is no longer running. To replace this service tourist train Chepe has now second class coaches attached four times a week.
(Source: Volta o Trem 16-6)
Mérida – Progreso
The freight only line Mérida – Progreso is currently under-going some refurbishment.
(Source: Volta o Trem 16-6)
Ciudad de México
The Metro of Ciudad de México will start services on the first section of Line 12 from Tlahuac to Atlalilco at the end of August 2012. The inhabitants of the city could use the line since July 2012 free of cost on weekends as a preliminary operation.
The continuation of Line 12 from Atlalilco to Mixcoac should be open for traffic in November 2012.
(Source: Fahrplancenter correspondents)
The federal state Quintana Roo has resumed its project of rail-based regional traffic and has reached an agreement with spanish rail operator FEVE about the detailed planning. It is envisaged to build a low-cost „Tram-Train“ linking the cities of Cancún, Cozumel, Solidaridad, Benito Juárez, Isla Mujeres and Tulum and also providing local traffic within those cities. The region at the Quintana Roo coast is one of the most important tourist destination of México with an advanced degree of modernisation. A solution of transport problems for tourists and local people is therefore crucial.
(Source: Fahrplancenter correspondents)
The new state president Enrique Peña Nieto has addressed the issue of long distance passenger traffic after his election to the supreme post. He suggests to reduce the project of a high-speed railway line Ciudad de México – Guadalajara to a line Ciudad de México – Querétaro and to postpone the continuation to Guadalajara to a later stage. With this, provision of funding for the high-speed rail scheme should be easier, Mr. Peña Nieto said.
(Source: Fahrplancenter correspondents)