TULUM, Mexico – The Tulum Times is keeping a close eye on the Tren Maya project, a long-distance railway system set to connect the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. This ambitious endeavor is said to be owned by the Olmec-Maya-Mexica Public Company and will offer three distinct services: passenger trains, a tourist train, and a cargo train.
Mexico’s President is adamant that the Tren Maya represents a unique opportunity to enhance and maximize the social, cultural, and economic development of the Yucatán Peninsula. Additionally, it is expected to act as a catalyst for transformations in the southeastern region, ultimately improving the living conditions of the local population. Furthermore, it will be interconnected with the railway lines and roads of the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT), spanning from Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca.
While the project’s infrastructure appears to be nearing completion, its profitability is a matter of long-term planning and speculation. It is uncertain whether the Tren Maya will generate sufficient revenue as both a passenger and cargo train to recoup the massive investment made in its construction.
Passenger train services require extensive feasibility and economic viability studies, and it is well-established that most train systems worldwide rely on substantial government subsidies to operate.
In the realm of passenger trains, none are truly sustainable without government support. The Tren Maya, once completed and operational, will be no exception. It is expected to rely on a subsidy, primarily funded through the “Tax on the Entry of Foreign Tourists to Mexican Territory,” estimated to be around 8 to 9 billion pesos annually to sustain operations. However, the actual operational costs are likely to surpass this figure, given the region’s corrosive environmental conditions, which pose a significant challenge for construction materials.
This observation serves as a reminder that efforts should be made to minimize the financial burden on the government and ensure that it does not impede essential public services such as healthcare, education, security, and infrastructure development.
The recent test run of the Tren del Sureste was deliberately slow, as the tracks and rolling stock still require fine-tuning and adjustment throughout their entire placement. The test run aimed to assess the train’s performance, both for passengers and commercial cargo. Concerns arise over potentially high tariffs for freight due to the considerable distance between the train stations and population centers, as well as tourist hubs. This could also affect the efficiency of cargo loading and unloading.
For instance, the Tulum Tren Maya station is situated 36 kilometers away from Tulum, posing a challenge for local transportation providers. In contrast, the Cancún Tren Maya station will be a mere 1.2 kilometers from Cancún International Airport, significantly reducing travel inconveniences.
In conclusion, the Tren Maya project, while promising in its potential for regional development, faces significant challenges in terms of profitability, sustainability, and logistical considerations. The Tulum Times will continue to monitor its progress and provide updates on this transformative transportation venture.