(MENAFN) In a significant move, Mexico's government issued a decree on Monday compelling private freight railway operators to prioritize passenger train services over their usual freight operations. The decree mandates the two main private concessionary rail operators, Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKS) and Mexico's Ferromex, to submit proposals for offering passenger services by January 15. Should they decline, the government reserves the right to enlist the army or the navy, despite their lack of experience in railway operations, to manage the services.
Currently, the overwhelming majority of Mexican railway traffic is dedicated to freight, with only limited tourist train services, such as the Copper Canyon in northern Mexico and the tequila-producing region in Jalisco, catering to passengers. The government's aim is to establish four short inter-city routes where passenger trains would operate on tracks typically designated for freight.
However, a notable challenge lies in the government's ambition to establish three extensive passenger routes from central Mexico to the U.S. border. These include the proposed 700-mile passenger service from Mexico City to Nuevo Laredo, the 900-mile run from Aguascalientes to Ciudad Juarez, and the 1,350-mile route from the capital to Nogales on the border. The decree aligns with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's vision, combining his nostalgia for the era of passenger train services predating private operators and his inclination to involve the military in various aspects, ranging from law enforcement to infrastructure projects.
CPKS and Ferromex, the key private operators in Mexico's railway sector, predominantly focus on freight services. The government's decree underscores its commitment to reshaping the railway landscape, prioritizing passenger travel, and potentially rekindling the legacy of passenger trains in Mexico.
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