Image credits: FONATUR
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News Article

First Mayan Train Subcontractors Assigned

By Pedro Alcalá | Mon, 05/04/2020 - 18:14

Work on the first segment of the Mayan Train was supposed to begin last Thursday, April 30. There was no big press release marking an inaugural beginning of the project. The reason given was that paths through the jungle must be cleared and existing cargo rail lines must be rehabilitated. Apparently, these duties were not contemplated in the contracts and budgets already signed and agreed to with the Lumat Consortium, CICSA and FCC Construcción.  

According to a report from Infobae, FONATUR will be for now spending a little over US$1.31 million to rehabilitate 41.5km of older Chiapas-Mayab cargo railroad destined to become part of the Mayan Train circuit. This will include clearing a path through the jungle so that 3.15m of free space is available on each side of the railroad lines. This investment has been divided in two contracts that have been adjudicated directly. The first one was given to local Chiapas company Coyatoc Construcciones, which will be in charge of preparing 27.4km of those rail lines that fall into the Mayan Train’s first segment between the Chiapas city of Palenque and the Campeche city of Escarcega. The second contract was given to prominent national rail sector supplier Nexumrail. It will be in charge of cleaning up 14.1km between the towns of Arellano and Mucuychacan, which would fall within the train’s second segment running from Escarcega to Calkini, all of this inside the state of Campeche. Nexumrail also participated in both the bidding rounds for the train’s first and second segments, in both cases in a consortium with Ferromex supplier Emartrons. Both Nexumrail and Coyatoc Construcciones will have until May 27 to complete these undertakings. 

FONATUR’s specifications in these contracts call for the sourcing of a minimum of 85 percent of these companies’ manual labor from local communities for the clearing of paths. The contracts also request that these companies apply vegetation growth retardants and inhibitors on a total space of 5m on each side of the rail lines. This kind of work falls under the category of the project’s “executive” phase, which is expected (and described in the contracts) to take up to four months. This means that the train’s actual construction will probably not begin until September, unless contractors see an opportunity to take advantage of available space in which to begin early. 

The first segment of the Mayan Train will have stops in the towns of Tenosique and Balancan, in Tabasco. Both of these towns are located along different segments of the Usumacinta, one of Mexico’s most iconic rivers and its largest when measured by water volume. The river’s path includes a section that marks the border between Mexico and Guatemala, along with the location of popular tourist spots such as the Mayan ruins of Yaxchilan. There are already a number of important rail infrastructure elements in place that cross the river, such as the Boca Del Cerro bridge near Tenosique. It will remain to be seen if these old elements can be rehabilitated and modernized to a point that allows them to be reutilized as part of the Mayan Train project. If they turn out to be no longer adequately built for this function, it is within the realm of possibility that budgets for these segments will have to be revised to account for the construction of new rail bridges crossing this river. 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Infobae, FONATUR
Photo by:   FONATUR
Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst