The new Mexico City airport, currently under construction at an air force base north of the capital, will not just have runways and an innovative terminal building but also a “cultural corridor” with three museums and repurposed historic train cars.
There will be an aviation museum, mammoth museum – the remains of at least 200 of the extinct mammals have been found at the airport site – and army and air force museum at the Santa Lucía airport, said Miguel Guerrero, the military engineer in charge of the cultural corridor project.
He also said that three 20th century train cars will together form an “historic cultural train” that will house a library, cafe, meeting rooms and other cultural and educational spaces.
The oldest train car to be restored and included was built in the United States in 1918. The Francisco I. Madero, named after the revolutionary and former president, was a luxury train carriage used to transport high-ranking military personnel.
While operational, it was decorated with fine furniture and blinds, classic lamps and wooden doors and had sleeping quarters with their own small bathrooms and kitchenettes.
Manufactured in 1926 in the United States, the Adolfo Ruiz Cortines car, named after Mexico’s president from 1952-1958, will also be part of the cultural train as will the Jalisco car, which was built in Mexico in 1980.
The former was also used to transport military personnel while the latter was used as a dining car, Guerrero said.
A replica 20th century train station will also be built in the cultural corridor. It will be named Santa Lucía station after the air force base and a stop on the now-defunct passenger train route between Veracruz and northern Mexico City.
The station will house a general services office, Guerrero said.
The cultural corridor is expected to be completed well before the airport begins operations. Construction of the US $4-billion airport began just over a year ago and is slated for completion in early 2022. The facility is being built by the army.
President López Obrador held a four-day public consultation a month before he took office in December 2018 in which almost 70% of participants voted in favor of canceling the previous government’s US $14-billion airport project in Texcoco, México state, in favor of turning the Santa Lucía Air Force Base into a commercial airport.
In arguing for the cancellation of the previous government’s project, López Obrador said it was corrupt, too expensive and being built on land that was sinking. He says that his plan is not only far cheaper but will solve the saturation problem at the current Mexico City airport more quickly.