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Bullet trains for the US? Thanks, AMLO!

7 September 2015

According to journalist Anabel Hernández, the impetus for bringing high-speed rail service to North America came from Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose 2012 election platform included developing high-speed railway connections throughout Mexico as a stimulus not just for the tourism industry, but as part of an overall transportation plan that included new highways (and expanding the Mexico City airport, not… as is presently being considered… in the biologically sensitive water-shed chosen by the Peña Nieto administration).

The López Obrador plan called for building a bullet train route from Cancun to Palenque, with stations at Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Merida for the tourist trade, as well as passenger service routs from Mexico City to  Nuevo Laredo, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Saltillo and Monterrey.

trainThe Monterrey terminus particularly caught the attention of Texas and Nuevo Leon political and business leaders, leading US Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx to push for a connection from Monterrey to San Antonio, with possible later expansion to Los Angeles and Oklahoma.  Of course, in the United States, the idea of state development is taboo, and there was concern that if the Mexican federal government were to go ahead and build their own bullet-trains first … they would be the obvious main stakeholder in any US development project.

So… without explicitly saying so… Hernández wonders why it is that the Peña Nieto administration “borrowed” AMLO’s project to announce the private-public development of the least important, and least cost-effective line (Mexico City to Queretaro, which already enjoys excellent surface road connections, as well as freight rail connections) … only to cancel the project when questions were immediately raised about the contracts and give US businesses a head start on a 21st century rail transit system.


Emma Martínez, “Tren bala de AMLO atentaba contra intereses de EE.UU por eso Peña tiró el proyecto: expertos” Revolucion Tres punto cero, 22 January 2015

3 Comments leave one →
  1. roberb7 permalink
    7 September 2015 9:00 am

    I strongly disagree with the “excellent surface road connections” between DF and Queretaro referred to in the article, and so would anyone who has ever tried leaving DF northbound on a Friday afternoon. The fact is, this corridor is maxed out, and building more highways won’t fix it.
    I hope that the DF-Queretaro TAV connection gets back on track very soon. Having it in operation makes it possible to have connections from Queretaro to Guadalajara, and León and points north.

  2. 7 September 2015 12:11 pm

    Let us hope that the project is started again. I have been on a National railways train Mexico City to Mexicali back in 1990. Great ride (50+ hours)–terrible equipment (toilets in operable after first 12 hours!)

  3. Chepe GP40-2HH permalink
    10 September 2015 9:48 am

    I wouldn’t pin this on AMLO, and if he was the reason for beginning of such a ridiculous system I would think much less of the guy.

    Mexico is already well into the airline age, and cars seem to be quickly catching up. Ferromex wants to drop the Cd. Chihuahua to Creel portion of the Chepe beginning next year if they get there way. Most everyone in North America is fixated on getting in a four-wheeled vehicle and going straight to destination w/o having to make any effort.

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