Suburban Train to AIFA Only 14 Percent Complete
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Suburban Train to AIFA Only 14 Percent Complete

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María José Goytia By María José Goytia | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 03/10/2022 - 11:52

A key Suburban Train extension aiming to connect the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA) will not be ready on time for the airport’s inauguration as works are only 14 percent complete. The expansion is to be the main public transportation route to the new airport and is expected to open in 2H23, a year and a half after the inauguration of AIFA.

The 24km extension of the Suburban Train is constructed by concessionaire Ferrocarriles Suburbanos, which manages 16km of civil works, as well as the Ministry of National Defense (SEDENA), which oversees the remaining 8km. The Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation (SICT) also participates in the construction of bridges, the relocation of a maneuvering yard and the release of railway rights. The extension will connect Line 1 of the Suburban Train, from its current Lechería station, to AIFA.

"We started the construction of this branch line early in September 2021. These types of projects have an estimated construction time of two years. We believe that we will be concluding this branch in 2H23," commented Max Noria, Director of Commercialization, Suburban Train system.

The segment belonging to the army reports a 95 percent progress in its railways and the railroad terminal at AIFA. In the civilian section of the project, the work faced delays since 2021, as inhabitants of the Tultepec municipality opposed the project’s construction.

Labor Party (PT) Deputy, Dionicia Vázquez García, commented that the expansion works would affect the mobility of approximately 15,000 inhabitants. This is the main issue that has halted construction works for the last three months. Tultepec inhabitants claim the structures remove their access to key roads. Additionally, they forced a relocation of municipality’s water and gas infrastructure. As an alternative, inhabitants proposed that the Tultepec section could be elevated instead of at ground level.

In addition to the extension to the suburban train line, Ferrocarriles Suburbanos plans to modernize the Buenavista terminal station with new tracks and platforms for convoys that will provide services to the airport terminal.

Consulting firm ADHOC updated its cost-benefit analysis of the Suburban Train Line 1 Expansion project in December 2021. According to the report, the works became 34 percent more expensive compared to the original plan, even though the project will use trains that were not used by the Mexico-Toluca Interurban Train project. The extension will cost approximately MX$4.42 billion (US$211 million) more than originally planned.

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