TULUM, México – The eagerly anticipated Tren Maya project is on track to welcome its first passengers in December 2023. This monumental endeavor encompasses a meticulously planned route spanning over 1,500 kilometers, traversing five states. As the construction enters its third year, the project has encountered various challenges, including legal disputes, financial considerations, and geographical complexities. However, the government’s steadfast commitment to its realization ensures that the vision of the Tren Maya will soon become a reality.
The carefully designed route comprises 19 stations and 14 stops, divided into seven sections. Yet, it is worth noting that this plan has undergone alterations during the construction process, driven by legal actions, cost-saving measures, and geographic intricacies. Despite these modifications, the Tren Maya remains resolute in its mission to connect Mexico’s vibrant cultural and historical tapestry.
One of the most captivating aspects of the Tren Maya journey is its passage through 26 awe-inspiring archaeological sites. Notably, ten of these sites will house Catvi’s (Centers for Visitor Attention), which encompass designated areas for commerce, exhibition zones, parking facilities, and leisure amenities. The intervention and preservation of these archaeological sites fall under the purview of Promeza (Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones), a program dedicated to revitalizing and maintaining these historically significant spaces. Furthermore, the ambitious project includes the construction of three museums: Chichen Itzá, boasting an impressive collection of over 800 artifacts from the region; the Archaeological Museum of Puuc; and several community museums. In addition, two new archaeological sites, Ichkabal, situated 24 kilometers from Tramo 6, and Paamul II, southwest of Playa del Carmen, will be accessible to visitors.
- La Libertad
- Emiliano Zapata
- Lázaro Cárdenas
- Benito Juárez
- Puerto Morelos
- Othón P. Blanco
- Felipe Carrillo Puerto
Another crucial aspect of the Tren Maya project is the inclusion of six strategically located hotels. The Mexican Army (Sedena) is overseeing the construction of these hotels in Edzná, located one kilometer from the archaeological zone; Calakmul, 110 kilometers from the archaeological zone; Nuevo Uxmal, 8.8 kilometers from the archaeological zone; Chichen Itzá, a mere 600 meters from the archaeological zone; Tulum, situated within the Jaguar Park; and Palenque, a convenient 1.6 kilometers from the archaeological zone. These well-appointed accommodations will offer tourists a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the history and natural beauty of the Tren Maya route.
During the journey, the Tren Maya passenger trains will operate at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour and will be available in four different configurations: standard trains with four and seven coaches, restaurant cars, and long-distance trains featuring cabins equipped with beds, showers, and bathrooms. Maité Ramos Gómez, the director of Alstom, the company responsible for manufacturing these vehicles, highlighted their inclusive design, emphasizing that they are fully accessible to individuals with reduced mobility and equipped to accommodate bicycles and luggage.
While the Tren Maya project has achieved significant milestones, it has also encountered several alterations to its original plan. In 2021, the most notable modifications occurred. Firstly, the decision was made to reroute the train away from the city of Campeche, following protests from local residents and considering economic factors. By doing so, the project spared 300 families from being relocated from a hazardous area near the tracks, resulting in substantial savings of 2 billion pesos. Subsequently, in Yucatán, it was determined that constructing a station in Mérida, specifically at La Plancha, would be more efficient and expedient to avoid the densely urbanized areas. The station was subsequently relocated to La Teya, 60 kilometers from its original proposed location. Nonetheless, construction efforts in the original zone continued, with the Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) currently overseeing the construction of the Tren Maya’s headquarters and a park.
Further alterations were made in Tramo 5, one of the most challenging segments due to the terrain it traverses. Initially, the plan entailed the construction of an elevated viaduct above the 307 highway in Cancún, passing by the beachfront hotels. However, in early 2022, it was decided that the railway would instead run parallel to the road at ground level. Additionally, a modification was made to shift the route seven kilometers into the jungle to minimize any potential impact on the tourist zone.
In the year 2023, modifications have persisted. While the planned viaduct over Playa del Carmen was canceled in 2022 due to technical difficulties and high costs, a new 42-kilometer bridge spanning both cities has been announced. Javier May, the current director of Fonatur, explained that this infrastructure choice was made to minimize further disruption to the karstic terrain.
In conclusion, the Tren Maya project represents a transformative endeavor that harmoniously combines Mexico’s rich cultural heritage with modern transportation infrastructure. As the construction progresses and its completion draws near, this ambitious initiative will undoubtedly redefine the tourism landscape, offering visitors an unparalleled experience that seamlessly blends history, natural wonders, and contemporary comforts.