Mexico is a country in North America known for its rich culture, beaches, Cuisine, and historical relics, with 31 states. According to the World Bank, Mexico is an Upper-middle-income country with a developing market economy. Mexico has the World’s largest pyramid and is the second city with the largest museums. As the world’s sixth-most visited country as of 2017, tourism is a serious industry. Transportation, an integral part of tourism, has been a major means of connecting the cities and sub-urban areas in the country, using various modes. It is on the backdrop of this key element that the Country’s National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism (Fonatur) led the Tren Maya, Mexico project.

Project in-depth:Tren Maya, Mexico - Sheet
Mayan Train colourful regional art_©

The project was conceived in September 2018, and work began in 2020; since then, it has been accelerated to meet the complete timeline of December 2023. The Project has been applauded and celebrated as the Jewel in Mexico’s infrastructure crown. Launched by the Government as part of its National Development Plan for 2019 – 2024, the project poses to upscale the country’s transport infrastructure and reduce passenger and freight transportation costs in the region, asides from supporting industrial development. Part of the aim is to pay off the infrastructural debt of that region, as it has been lagging in terms of economic development compared to other industrialised states of central and northern Mexico.

The Tren Maya project is located in one of Mexico’s South-southeastern cities called Yucatan Peninsula, to cover an extent of 1525km, connecting other industrial and tourism hubs of the country. The project is estimated for 1.5 billion dollars to be completed in December 2023. Being a large-scale intercity railway project, it will significantly improve the country’s economic growth, creating over three hundred thousand direct jobs.

Project Details | Tren Maya Mexico

The proposed 1,525km long rail line will be divided into seven sections, passing through 29 train stations in the five Southeast states comprising Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Campeche. The project is broken down into two phases, with phase one connecting from Palenque to Cancun across a total length of 892 km, while the remaining phase covers from Cancun to Escarcega across 662km.

The design is inspired by Mexican culture and incorporates the lines, speed, and beauty of the Jaguar. Built with a maximum speed of 176km/h, with the components and expertise of the previous bombardier. The Train will have three configurations: Xiinbal, P’atal, and Janal, with enough legroom and space to facilitate better movement within the train.

Project in-depth:Tren Maya, Mexico - Sheet2
Project Route_©

Project Parties

  • Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo
  • Secretaría de Turismo
  • Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia 
  • Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales

Consulting Firms

  • Steer Davies, MextypsaSenermex, Eclecsis, CMS Woodhouse Lorente Ludlow, PwC.


  • Alstom Transport Mexico, 
  • Bombardier Transportation México, 
  • Gami Ingeniera e Instalaciones, and Construcciones Urales Procesos Industriales
  • Mota Engil México, CICSA, GAMI, AZVI, FCC Construccion, ICA, China Communications Construction,
  • Grupo Cosh,
  • Eyasa

Project Managers | Tren Maya Mexico

  • Typsa
  • Renfe, DB Engineering & Consulting, Ineco, Inecomex were contracted to perform operator activities

Project stakeholders

UNOPS, ONU HABITAT, and UNESCO, among others.

Project in-depth:Tren Maya, Mexico - Sheet3
Project Rail Track Plan_©


Notable experts and professionals within the environmental, urban, and engineering fields, including Historians within and outside the country, have lamented the side effects of the project on the environment, as over 300,000 trees have been felled, alongside the effect on the city’s aquifer, which may lead to water shortage, general threats on the fragile ecosystem, illegal resettlements for residents along the rail track lines, loss of cultural sites. Etc. 

The critics also questioned the project’s legality as the usual Environmental Impact Assessment for projects was not done, coupled with human rights violations on the right to a healthy environment. In early 2022, a lawsuit was filed, and the project was suspended several times but later resumed. President Andre Manuel Lopez leads the Mexican Government. Obrador has found a way to circumvent any opposition to the project. The project was rather designated as a national security project to prioritise the railway in the people’s interest against any legal challenge.

The project financiers have collaborated with international, regional, and local experts to develop the project under the best international standards and good practices.

Project in-depth:Tren Maya, Mexico - Sheet4
Train Interior_©

Benefits & Impact of the Project | Tren Maya Mexico

  • The project will promote the region’s and local communities social and economic development.
  • It will improve the land use planning of the host town.
  • It will boost the tourism industry in Mexico.
  • It will rehabilitate protected natural areas. The provision of retaining walls of various heights has been built to limit the encroachment of the new right of way and avoid impact on plant life as far as possible.
  • Perpendicular drainage channels aimed at preventing flooding have already been built.
  • The project has promoted the development of elevated passages, particularly for large mammals, to maintain the existing biological corridors.
  • The project will eventually contribute to sustainability by reducing polluting fossil fuel emissions.
The cabins of P’atal, the train for long distances_©

Ultimately, tourist and urban capacity will be improved to serve eight thousand tourists daily within the peninsula.

The project aims to increase Tourist stay, translating into higher spending and income increase for the communities.

It will also create an avenue for property owners to upscale their properties to accommodate the new status.


Mayan Train Project (2023) (Accessed on 10 March, 2023)

Tren Maya(2023) (Accessed on 10 March, 2023)

Tren Maya Railway Project (2023) (Accessed on 09 March 2023)

A New Tourist Train in Mexico (2023) (Accessed on 08 March, 2023)

Itransporte (2023)


Edet Samuel is a Nigerian based architect with consistent practice experience in the built environment He began his career as a pupil architect in a firm and grew through the ranks of starting out his practice. He holds a Masters degree in Architecture from the University of Nigeria, and he's currently pursuing Doctorate with focus on Intelligent building management systems, architectural forensics, and Urban design. Edet Samuel has been exposed to a wide range of design projects cutting across major categories of buildings, and has contributed this experiences to students' academic works. Edet is broadly interested in contemporary responses and diversification in architecture, especially in areas of improved working drawings & detailing, design information and management, public health architecture in this era of pandemics that has made the home front the first line of defense, and design as 'preventive medicine'.