Mexican Train Maya To Be Fully Completed Before September, Says President

The Yucatan intercity railway known as Tren Maya should be completed before September, said President President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a weekend tour.

López Obrador is confident he will be able to inaugurate the entire project before the end of his six-year term.

“We’ve traveled from Mérida to Campeche on the Mayan Train in 1:38 minutes. In September, when it’s all finished, the 1,554 km journey will be more than enjoyable due to nature, sea and archaeological sites [that can be observed]. [This will be] one of the most important means of transport in the world,” Lopez Obrador said on X.

Construction of this project began in June 2020. On December 15, 2023, the Campeche-Cancun route was first inaugurated. However, most stations were not operational so passengers couldn’t get on or off.

Also on this date, López Obrador said the Campeche-Tabasco route would be done on February 29, but that did not happen.

The president’s star project has had several delays and some other stretches have been “inaugurated,” with works partially completed.

On some occasions, trains have been unable to meet schedules (up to 5 hours late) and operations have had to be temporarily suspended.

On the other hand, experts have warned about the destruction of virgin forests and the imminent contamination of the aquifer that supplies water to the entire state of Quintana Roo.

For instance, to complete sections 5, 6 and 7 connecting Cancun to Campeche, over 8.7 million trees were cut down to install 10,000 25-meter-long pillars, putting the delicate system of more than 100 cenotes and caves at risk, El Pais reported.

As of today, the train has 24 stations operating from Palenque (Chiapas) to Playa del Carmen (Quintana Roo).

According to official data, the train transported 64,370 passengers in its first 70 days.

In recent months, stations in Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen have opened. The Tren Maya also inaugurated a free-of-charge station to streamline transportation from the Cancun International Airport (AIC).

During the past holy week, reporter Maxwell Radwin embarked on a journey from Cancun toward Palenque and back. He found clear evidence of environmental damage, indigenous communities relocation and pollution of important water bodies.

According to Radwin, locals are conflicted between the environmental price they must pay and the promised economic growth led by a supposed increase in tourism in the region.

As of today, “Section 5 South” is facing important structural and legal delays due to the potential damage to underwater caves as well as a lack of construction materials.

López Obrador wanted to leave his pharaonic work finished as a legacy of his presidency before March 21 but that was impossible. Although, seeing what we have seen so far, it wouldn’t be strange for him to inaugurate it unfinished.