Sleepy for three decades, the national railway sector picks up the pace. High-speed rail service is a long way off, but the Fourth Transformation will bring back passenger transport and revolutionize freight transport.
The connectivity for the Felipe Ángeles International Airport and the Mayan Train are the emblematic works of the new railway and multimodal development in Mexico, which will multiply its scope with the Interoceanic Corridor, which will connect the Gulf of Mexico with the Isthmus of Tehuantepec with trains of load.
The Suburbano branch to Santa Lucía, but above all the new line for freight trains, is part of the plan of the Government of the Republic to reactivate the railway system in Mexico.
And it is that neither for cargo nor for tourism nor for mass passenger transport, the railway was a viable option. This federal government and the previous one —which eight years ago wanted to reactivate the rail network, but gave up, after the Mexico-Querétaro train project was canceled— have had to overcome legal obstacles and boycotts of various kinds.
For the AIFA, the Ministry of Communications and Transportation resolved an old dilemma: trunk links or feeder roads. A megaproject of these dimensions will use BRT, Suburban Train and new highways to meet the needs of passengers, employees, service providers, airline crews and military personnel.
In the previous six-year term, the dependency then in charge of Gerardo Ruiz Esparza managed the rights of way to connect the AICM with the new Texcoco terminal with a train that would run behind the Bosque de Aragón.
Canceled the NAIM, in the first lines of the AICM a railway connection to Santa Lucía was contemplated, but the social conflict —roads and houses surrounding the Cuchilla del Tesoro were affected— made that option unfeasible.
The solution was in the modification of the concession title of the Buenavista-Cuautitlán Suburban Train —in which Fonadin has 48% of the shares— to open a new Lechería-AIFA branch. The progress of the work, a mixed investment of 25,000 million pesos, has been hampered by gas lines, fiber optic cables, electric power crossings, drinking water lines and sanitary drainage, in addition to the roads built on the right federally.
The state authorities and the Government of the Republic have had to negotiate with residents of half a dozen municipalities in Mexico to comply with the AIFA construction program, which in addition to complementing the airport system in the Valley of Mexico, will be a trigger for the urban development of the region.
And it is that there is a cluster of industries settled along the road, for which a new maneuvering yard and 28 kilometers of double track will now be enabled. These works will involve relocating 64,000 meters of main freight roads, 3,500 meters of existing yards and 6,300 meters of secondary roads.
The work of the railway branch is built mainly on the federal right of way and the acquisition of land for the maneuvering yard, for the modal transfer centers of the stations and for the underpasses is being managed.
The SCIT has promised that the new Suburbano Buenavista-Santa Lucía branch will start operating within 15 months. By then, the Toluca-Valle de México interurban route should also be ready, including the CETRAM in the Observatory.
And the modernization of the STC Metro? The pandemic and the incident on the Golden Line drastically modified the plan of the head of the CDMX Government, Claudia Sheinbaum, to improve the service of the main means of transport in the megalopolis, after five decades of services without closures, but with intermittent and saturations.
The limited capacity during the confinement stage significantly affected the finances of the Metro, but the CDMX Congress authorized in 2019 a budget of 38,000 million pesos for the acquisition of a batch of 30 new trains and the maintenance of a batch of 10 existing trains, in addition to the rehabilitation of tracks and electrical and electronic systems.
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Journalist and columnist for El Economista, author of Doña Perpetua: Elba Esther Gordillo’s power and opulence. Elba Esther Gordillo against the SEP.