The Maya Train, Mexican President Lopez Obrador’s Flagship Work, Used Only 7,000 Tons of Cuban Stone

The Tren Maya (MayaTrain) inaugurated this Saturday in Mexico was delayed because the tracks had to be changed manually. (X/@GobiernoMX)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio/EFE, Mexico, December 17, 2023 — With a delay of almost four hours on one of two routes, the first section of the Tren Maya was inaugurated this Saturday, which connects Campeche (state of the same name) and Cancun (Quintana Roo). In the first 293 miles of railway infrastructure, 7,000 tons were used of the 200,000 Cuban porphyria stones that the Government of Mexico would buy from Cuba. The Cuban business failed due to the lack of ports with infrastructure for unloading the Rajón stone and the high cost of transferring it from the Island.

The Mexican government intended to unload the stone in Puerto Morelos. However, the anchor of the ship Melody, in which 20,000 tons of stone from Cienfuegos were transported, damaged a coral bank of the Mexican Caribbean Biosphere Reserve, an area established for marine biodiversity, which forced part of the unloading to be aborted.

Last June, the director of Apiqroo, Vagner Elbiorn Vega, explained that three operations were carried out because the depth in this port is 14.8 feet, which caused logistical difficulties and additional operational costs. The Melody was still on the high seas with 13,000 tons of Cuban stone, and the ship Gazibey with 17,000. The fate of this stone is still unknown Faced with the complaints of environmental groups about the damage caused in the region and several legal protections to stop the work, the Administration of Andrés Manuel López Obrador shielded the information.

The first section of the Tren Maya goes from Campeche to Cancun. (X/@GobiernoMX)

Group Indi, one of the most important builders in Mexico, partnered with Santo Domingo Inversiones, which “served as an intermediary” with Cuba in everything related to the acquisition of the Rajón stone that would be processed in Mexico to obtain ballast.

In May, Santo Domingo Inversiones offered General Gustavo Vallejo, head of the Felipe Ángeles Engineering Group, responsible for Parts 5 North, 6 and 7 of the Maya Train, stone material from Cienfuegos. The company’s proposal consisted of the sale of 1.2 million cubic meters of Cuban ballast at a price of $143 per cubic meter, which could change by having Grupo Indi as a partner.

The transfer of the Rajón stone was done by the maritime and commercial services company Mide, which complained that having a ship anchored cost it losses of 100,000 dollars a day. Because of the lack of a landing area, the business with Cuba fell apart and left a debt of almost 8,000,000 dollars.

After Cuba ceased to be the option for the supply of stone, the Veracruz-based company Osoialfa became the main ballast supplier for the Tren Maya, with more than 500,000 tons of stone transported to the main landing points.

The train, which will travel through the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo, had setbacks this Saturday because the of track switching systems are not automated.

The first commercial trip of the also-called “Rolling Jaguar” occurred a day after the inaugural tour of the first of three stages of construction with the presence of President López Obrador.

VIDEO | The inaugural trip of the Tren Maya from Campeche to Cancun ended. It lasted 9 hours 28 minutes because four trips were scheduled on a single track.  The track switching systems are not automated, which caused a delay in the 3-hour itinerary.

However, the route still does not make stops at several of the planned intermediate stations, something that will be solved in the coming months, according to the authorities.

Everything went according to what was planned on the first train scheduled to leave Cancun at 7 am local time. However, for the second convoy, which was expected to leave at 11 am, the passengers had to wait up to four hours to be able to board the Xiimbal train.

A worker of the Tren Maya, as EFE verified, clarified that it was a “technical failure” of the Alstom company, in charge of the construction of the railways, while assuring that the public company that attends to tourist transport “is not responsible for this breakdown,” and he apologized.

He insisted that this type of experience does not represent the Tren Maya brand and added that “no one is perfect.”

According to López Obrador, the project will bring prosperity to one of the most historically forgotten areas of the country: the Mexican southeast.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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