The future of three Mexican rail projects involving investment estimated a year ago of 22 billion pesos (US$1.07bn) remains in limbo as the government has failed to update their status this year.
The projects are the 5.8bn-peso extension of the Mexico City-Mexico state suburban passenger rail service from Cuautitlán station to Huehuetoca in northern Mexico state; the 5.9bn-peso extension of metro line A in Mexico City from La Paz station to the Chalco municipality in southeastern Mexico state; and the 10.2bn-peso coastal train in Baja California state, many details of which are still unknown.
The three projects were originally included in the first stage of the 2020-24 national infrastructure program (PNI) that officials and private sector representatives presented last November.
However, the PNI suffered delays and it had to be “restructured” given that the coronavirus pandemic caused the suspension of non-essential construction works in April-July and the cancelation of some projects.
While the government has not provided a full update on all the 146 projects that were in the program, it did present on October 5 a new and updated version of the PNI. But none of the three rail projects was included.
However, the government has moved forward with planning for another eight railway projects this year, two of which were recently confirmed, and continued construction on another five.
BNamericas takes a look at the status of the three ‘forgotten’ rail projects.
Although no update has been provided on the three rail projects this year, there is still a chance the Andrés Manuel López Obrador administration will decide to begin or award their construction in the next four years before he leaves office.
The government has said the projects would be fully financed by the private sector.
Even so, the new version of the PNI is not complete, and the private and public sectors still intend to add more public-private partnership projects to it in four stages. The second is due to be presented in December.
– Metro line A expansion (La Paz-Chalco)
The first of the three projects is the almost 13km extension of metro line A, from La Paz to Chalco, which would further connect southeastern Mexico state with the heart of Mexico City.
According to development bank Banobras’ project tracker website Mexico Projects Hub, which last updated the profile in September 2019, the project is in the pre-investment stage and the government will launch the tender in the first half of 2021.
Unlike all other projects under the control of Mexico City’s metro authority, the extension would involve a 20-year concession awarded to the private sector.
According to the metro authority’s 2018-30 masterplan, there are six expansion projects planned for the network in the next 10 years and one of these includes line A.
– Mexico City-Mexico state suburban train expansion (Cuautitlán–Huehuetoca)
The extension of the suburban rail line that connects Mexico City and northern Mexico state has been on the table since 2008, when its current operator CAF said it had plans to extend the rail line north to Huehuetoca.
But CAF has not confirmed plans to begin construction anytime soon.
It could be possible, however, that work on the 20km extension starts along with another project for the same line.
The other extension involves a 23km stretch from Lechería station in Mexico state to Nextlalpan municipality, where the Felipe Ángeles international airport (AIFA) is being built.
Investment for the project was put at 10bn pesos and construction was originally set to start in 2023 as part of the government’s plans to connect the airport with Mexico City.
– Baja California coastal train
Another PNI project of which almost nothing has been heard in a year is the coastal train in Baja California.
Under the PNI, the project was due to receive 10.2bn pesos to begin construction in 2023, but it is uncertain whether the private sector has rethought the proposal amid the coronavirus economic crisis or whether it will be tendered by the government in the next few years.
While there are no public records about construction, reports say it involves building a rail line – passenger, freight or a mix of both – along the main beaches of Playas de Rosarito municipality and connecting with the port of Ensenada.
MEXICO’S RAILWAY PORTFOLIO
While the three projects await confirmation, the government has announced other railway plans.
Among the latest is the 51.3bn-peso Mexico-Querétaro high-speed train, which was included in the new version of the PNI, and the conclusion of the estimated 2.5bn-peso Celaya rail bypass, which has been under construction for five years.
Among the projects that are under study and construction of which could be announced next year is the fourth light rail line in Jalisco state capital Guadalajara and the Guanajuato-Querétaro interurban train.
And some of the ongoing projects are the US$7.5bn Maya train, the 90bn-peso Toluca-Mexico interurban link and the US$1bn Tehuantepec isthmus rail corridor, among others.
- Maya train
- Tehuantepec isthmus rail corridor
- Mexico-Toluca interurban train
- Monterrey city metro line No. 3
- Mexico City metro line No. 9 expansion
- Celaya rail bypass
Ready to begin construction
- Modernization of Mexico City’s metro line No. 1
- Lechería-AIFA suburban line extension
- Mexico City-Querétaro high-speed rail link
Under planning or studies
- García-Monterrey airport light rail corridor
- Guanajuato-Querétaro interurban train
- Tijuana-Tecate interurban train
- Cancún urban tourist rail link
- Guadalajara light rail line No. 4
- Cuautitlán-Huehuetoca suburban line extension
- Mexico City metro line A Chalco-La Paz extension
- Baja California coastal train
- Veracruz light rail
- Cancún-Tulum train
Source: BN Americas