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El Chepe ready to roll again. El Chepe ready to roll again.

Copper Canyon train El Chepe resumes operations July 17

Operator says staff have been trained and prepared to serve passengers in the face of the new normal

The Chihuahua-Pacific railway that carries visitors through the stunning mountains of Chihuahua and Sinaloa has announced it will hit the tracks once again on July 17 after being shut down due to the coronavirus. 

A regional train for residents has continued operations throughout the pandemic but the popular tourist train known as El Chepe, including the luxury Chepe Express, were sidelined on March 21.

“During almost four months both the operational and administrative staff have been trained and prepared to serve passengers in the face of the new normal,” said Grupo México Transportes, which operates the train. “In addition, this pause was taken advantage of to provide general maintenance to the train, as well as to incorporate a car specially adapted for people with disabilities and a new dining room for economy class.”

Safety and hygiene measures in accordance with state and federal governments are being adhered to, the company stated.

Occupancy will be restricted to 50% of the train’s capacity. Personal protective equipment is required for all personnel on board (face shield, face mask and gloves) and the staff’s health will be monitored daily by doctors.

The train will be thoroughly disinfected daily, with the staff constantly cleaning common areas such as handrails, observation decks and seats.

Before boarding the train, passengers will go through a sanitary checkpoint where their temperature will be taken. The boarding process will be carried out respecting healthy distance and monitoring the constant use of face masks by customers. Assigned seating will make sure that passengers are a healthy distance away from one another.

El Chepe is Mexico’s only tourist train and its 673 kilometers of tracks take visitors through the rugged splendor of Mexico’s Copper Canyon and the Tarahumara Sierra, passing over 37 bridges and through 86 tunnels, rising to an altitude of 2,400 kilometers above sea level near the Continental Divide. Completed in 1961 after 90 years of construction, the railroad links the capital of Chihuahua with the Pacific coast town of Los Mochis, Sinaloa.

Source: La Jornada (sp), Milenio (sp)

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