The Mayan Train, News and Keys to the Year 2024
What is the Mayan Train?
The Mayan Train is an infrastructure project that spans five states in southeastern Mexico, promising to boost tourism and economic growth in the region. This project is more than just rail transportation, as it has stops, stations, air terminals and even hotels, with a capacity for 260 passengers. Section 1 of the Mayan Train, which runs from Palenque to Escárcega, has made significant progress, with a length of 226 kilometers and three entities along its route. The project will be inaugurated in December 2023.
By 2024, it is expected that the Mayan Train will have established itself as one of the main attractions in the southeast region of Mexico, attracting 10% of the tourists arriving to the Riviera Maya. The project is expected to include improvements in archaeological zones such as Palenque, Reforma del Moral and El Tigre. It will also include the construction of a 160-room hotel, transportation from the Palenque airport and tourist centers in the region, as well as a Visitors’ Assistance Center (CATVI).
What are the news and key points for the year 2024?
New Sections and Stations
The new sections and stations of the Tren Maya are part of the Tren Maya project, a Mexican government initiative to improve connectivity between tourist destinations in southeastern Mexico. These stations will be located in the 19 stations of the Tren Maya, which serve as main roads and allow movement between the different cities of the Tren Maya. These stations will offer services for travelers, including: food, beverages, lodging, luggage, public transportation, internet connections, smartphone charging stations, ATMs, travel agencies, among others, to make travel as comfortable and safe as possible.
By 2024, the Tren Maya will have 20 stations and several trunk lines that will cover a large part of the states of Yucatan, Chiapas, Campeche and Tabasco. Listed below are the sections and their stations:
- Palenque – Ocosingo – Montes Azules – San Cristóbal de Las Casas – Tuxtla Gutiérrez – Comitán – Tapachula.
- Tenosique – Balancán – Cárdenas – Escárcega – Palenque.
- Ciudad del Carmen – Tenosiqu
- Villahermosa – Ciudad del Carmen
- Teapa – Villahermosa – Cancún
- Merida – Othon P. Blanco – Tulum – Escarcega.
- Cancun – Tulum
- Chuburna de Hidalgo – Merida – Campeche.
- Calakmul – Champerico – Escárcega – Palenque
Progress of the Mayan Train Project
The Mayan Train project will begin in 2024, approximately 8 months after section 1 of the Mayan Train is inaugurated. The National Institute of Anthropology and History has informed that section 7 already has its definitive route. In addition, the director of the Mayan Train has stated that the freight sector will begin operations until September 2024.
1 Billion Dollar Investment
The US$1 billion investment is a proposal for the integral improvement of Mexico’s transportation system, approved by the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in November 2021. This initiative consists of the construction of infrastructure works in 19 stations to improve tourist and local transportation services, as well as the transfer of goods. This investment also includes the investment of 42 billion pesos for works in Quintana Roo by 2023.
By 2024, a diversification of tourists and higher spending by visitors is expected due to projects such as the Mazatlan Aquarium, which will be the largest in LATAM. The project is also expected to improve the situation of the inhabitants of communities far from the cities by saving them time in their commutes. In terms of finances, the government is accepting the proposal that the settlement will be derived from the analysis and conciliation with the military engineers.
Reconstruction and Modernization of the Railway Network
The reconstruction and modernization of the railway network is a large-scale comprehensive infrastructure project that seeks to improve the transportation of passengers and goods. It seeks to improve the level of safety, performance and efficiency of the railway system through the replacement of obsolete equipment with modern signaling, control and train protection systems. This will also allow the use of new technologies such as the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS).
Benefits of the Mayan Train
The benefits of the Mayan Train by 2024 will be varied. First, the connection between the five states of the Mexican southeast, promoting tourism and economic growth in the region. In addition, the Mayan Train will have 21 stations, 13 stops and 117 high-impact tourist attractions that will allow visitors to enjoy the full experience. The stations will include stops, stations, air terminals and hotels. Also included will be a restaurant train line, which will enter service between November and December 2024. This will allow tourists to eat and drink during the trip.
Another benefit is that the Tren Maya will mainly transport fuels, although it is expected that other materials such as food, cars and other supplies will also be moved. For the first phase of operation it is estimated that 2 million tons per year will be transported, in the second phase it is estimated that 2.9 million tons will be transported and for the third phase it is expected that the Mayan Train will be able to move 5.4 million tons per year. It is expected that by 2053 the Mayan Train will be able to move up to 12.53 million tons per year. This will reduce congestion on Mexican highways, avoiding fuel waste and contributing to the reduction of carbon dioxide.
In addition, the Tren Maya will have a connection to Central America, which will allow for the economic development of the region. Last but not least, there will be investments by the federal government in the construction of the Tren Maya from 2019 to 2022. This means an investment of 207 billion 277 million pesos, which will contribute to the strengthening of the economy of the Mexican Southeast.
News and keys for 2024:
- AMLO announced that Section 1 of the Mayan Train will be ready to be inaugurated in December 2023.
- Section 1 will have significant progress eight months before the project is inaugurated and will have a total length of 226 kilometers.
- Sectur delivered a proposal with 64 package options and tours through the 20 stations of the Mayan Train.
- Section 7 of the Mayan Train already has a definitive route.
- The Mayan Train will implement a system based on European Railway Traffic Management System technology for train control and protection.
- Fonatur’s main objective is to establish a reordering program that will allow Tulum’s growth to continue and avoid future collapse.
What section is currently under construction?
Currently under construction is Section 1 of the Mayan Train, which covers 226 kilometers and crosses three entities: Chiapas, Tabasco and Campeche. This work includes the improvement of three archeological zones: Palenque, in Chiapas; Reforma del Moral, in Tabasco; and El Tigre, in Campeche. Similarly, Section 3 already has 100% approval of the work.
The Mayan Train construction project is being financed mainly by the federal government through subsidies. According to the director of the Tren Maya, Óscar David Lozano Águila, subsidies will be received from the government to operate the project until 2030
The government is also investing in the project, according to the Secretary of Tourism, Miguel Torruco Marqués, from 2019 to 2022 alone, 207,277 million pesos have been invested.
In addition, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador recently announced that he makes tours of the construction sites every 15 days to avoid any delays.
Finally, the Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo (Fonatur) is also contributing to the project by providing fares for local passengers and tourists.
How safe is the Mayan Train route?
The Mayan Train route is very safe, as it will have state-of-the-art technology to offer precision and safety to the traveler. The route will cover five states in southeastern Mexico with more than 1,500 kilometers of railroad track, passing through 40 municipalities and 181 towns. In addition, the trains will run at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour for passenger service and 100 kilometers per hour for freight service. On the other hand, the Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo (Fonatur) is in charge of supervising the work and guaranteeing safety with different field studies. For example, daily inspections are carried out, as well as reviews of the train sections to guarantee passenger safety. In addition, security checks are carried out at each stop to ensure the protection of users. Finally, the Tren Maya has a security group made up of federal, state, and municipal police to guarantee the safety of all passengers.
How is the work on the Mayan Train being monitored?
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador carries out a bimonthly tour to supervise the construction works of the Mayan Train; this supervision is carried out aboard a Mexican Air Force helicopter. During the tour, the president flies over the archeological sites of Palenque in Chiapas and Chichen Itza in Yucatan, in addition to supervising the 800 kilometers of construction of the Mayan Train in the southeast of the country. During the tour, the president is accompanied by authorities from the construction companies in charge of the mega project; he also checks the condition of the railroad tracks, embankments, earthworks, ballast and rails.
President López Obrador begins the tour with Section 1, which runs from Palenque to Escárcega and will have a total length of 226 kilometers. Section 2 covers the states of Chiapas, Tabasco and Campeche, with a length of 1,500 kilometers that will be built with special tracks, embankments, concrete sleepers, ballast transferred from Veracruz, among others.
Finally, during the tour, the President assured that the Mota-Engil company, associated with another Mexican company, is successfully carrying out the works; and thanked the population of the areas through which the Mayan Train will pass, for their willingness and support for the benefits that the mega work will bring.
Impressive new train station designed for the Mayan Train in Tulum, Mexico
The new train station designed for the Tren Maya in Tulum, Mexico, is designed to be impressive. It is inspired by the mask of Pakal and will have a civic center with a central plaza, shops, restaurants, bus stops and service and operating facilities. This station will have 1,112 meters of boulevard, six lanes, a pedestrian walkway and bicycle lane. The Tren Maya is scheduled to be inaugurated in December 2023 and will have a capacity of 260 passengers in seven cars, a cafeteria and a car with restaurant, eight cabins, 16 standard berths, one PRM berth, an area for wheelchairs and bicycles, Wi-Fi, smoke detector, lighting and comfortable reclining seats. The station will also provide transportation to tourist centers in the region, the Palenque International Airport, the Tren Maya train station, and a Visitors’ Assistance Center (CATVI). In addition, one of the Tren Maya hotels will be built, with 160 rooms with terrace.
The Mexican architectural firm Aidia Studio designed the station that will provide services from Cancun to Tulum, in the Mexican Caribbean.
Under a principle of sustainability, as well as user experience and ease of mobility, the firm opted for a design with a lattice roof that intuitively guides users to the center of the station.
In addition, the station will feature a narrative that will frame the qualities of Mayan architecture through the use of light, shadows, patterns, materials and vegetation, reinterpreting it in a contemporary way.
Aidia Studio designed the station to respond to Tulum’s climate -tropical with rain and high humidity in the summer.
Mayan Train will increase electricity demand in the Yucatan Peninsula by 42%.
According to calculations, the electricity demand of the Mayan Train in the Yucatan Peninsula will increase from 2 million tons per year in the first phase to 12.53 million tons per year by the year 2053. This is an increase of 10.53 million tons, a 526% increase over the first phase.
Construction of the seven tractor substations is also progressing.
Substation 1, which has seven works, is 82% complete.
Substation 2, with six construction sites, is 89% complete.
Substation 3, with six works, is 73% complete.
Substation 4, with seven works, is 16% complete.
Substation 5, with ten works, is 15% complete.
Substation 6, with ten works, is 20% complete.
Finally, substation 7, with seven works, is 24% complete.