Electrifying the Mayan Train: New Infrastructure Initiatives
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Electrifying the Mayan Train: New Infrastructure Initiatives

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Karin Dilge By Karin Dilge | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Wed, 08/02/2023 - 14:40

CFE is working with internal departments and various subsidiaries to complete 53 crucial energy infrastructure projects necessary for the electrification of 44% of the Mayan Train. These energy infrastructure projects are distinct from the 155 facility projects, which include toll booths, offices, workshops and depots dedicated to administrative operations. Altogether, the state company faces the significant undertaking of fulfilling both the energy requirements of the rail project and increasing regional demand.

During López Obrador’s  morning press conference, Manuel Bartlett, Director General, CFE, emphasized that these electrification endeavors will culminate in an integrated system interconnected with the National Electric System (SIN), overseen by the National Energy Control Center. "To our knowledge, a system of this magnitude and scale has never been constructed in such a short period. This system unites the southern-southeastern regions with national development,” he stated. 

To generate the necessary electrical supply for the train's operation and escalating demand in the Yucatan Peninsula, CFE is constructing three power generation facilities with an investment of US$1.2 billion. These facilities include the combined-cycle power plants in Merida and Valladolid, collectively capable of generating 1,519MW, which will cater to the energy needs of 2.9 million users in the region. The operation of these plants is expected to prevent the emission of over 800,000t of carbon dioxide annually and the consumption of more than 5MMb of fuel oil.

CFE's infrastructure efforts, executed by the Corporate Directorate of Engineering and Infrastructure Projects, encompass the construction of transmission lines, switching substations and hauling substations. These installations will ultimately interconnect the train with the region’s electrical grid.

Infrastructure Initiatives in Phases:

In sections 3 and 4 of the rail line between the Teya Merida station and the Cancun Airport station, 19 projects broke ground in July 2022 and concluded on July 24, setting a record-breaking pace of 12 months. These projects will facilitate the commencement of operational tests for the electric trains.

In sections 5 North, 5 South and 6 of the rail line between the Cancun Airport and Chetumal Airport stations, 34 projects commenced in January 2023 and are projected to be operational by November of the same year. The overall progress of this section currently stands at 46%.

Simultaneously, CFE is actively engaged in constructing 38 connections to physically link the hauling substations with the train's catenary system, referring to the overhead cables directly supplying electric power to the train. The current progress of this ambitious endeavor stands at 26%, with completion anticipated by September 2023.

Subsidiary CFE Distribution, responsible for electrifying the 155 facilities essential for the train's operation, is constructing 503km of medium-voltage lines, 394km overhead and 109km underground. This considers the construction of 48 substations and 92 distribution circuits. Additionally, 5,910 utility poles will be installed to enhance capacity in three substations: Kanasin, Tulum and Insurgentes.

The initiatives also entail the construction of essential general distribution networks to ensure the reliable and secure operation of the Mayan Train. This includes 104 technical booths for monitoring speed, positioning and track changes, including 14 stops, 8 maintenance bases, 3 workshops and depots and 3 buildings operated by SEDENA to safeguard the security of the Mayan Train facilities. The progress in these initiatives currently stands at 92%.

To ensure the train's safe passage while maintaining safety distances from transmission and distribution lines, CFE is overseeing the engineering and construction of 453 projects aimed at modifying the height or relocating high and medium-voltage power lines. The overall progress in this aspect has reached 59%.

Photo by:   pixabay

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