A new transportation option connecting Mexico City and Toluca, the capital of the adjoining State of México, is one step closer to reality with the first tests of new trains beginning this week.
Federal Communications and Transportation Secretary Gerardo Ruiz Esparza says services will commence in the middle of next year.
The first batch of an eventual fleet of 30 European-style, Spanish-made trains has arrived in Mexico with some currently undergoing brake and traction testing in the Toluca municipality of Zinacantepec while others have been assembled in the city of Huehuetoca, also in the State of México.
A total of 47 billion pesos (US $2.2 billion) have been invested in the project, including the construction of mostly elevated tracks covering a distance of 57 kilometers between the two cities. Just over half of the work on the route has been completed so far.
The inter-city service will be the first of its type in Latin America, not just for the maximum speed of 160 km/h that trains will be capable of reaching but also because of the levels of comfort and safety they will offer, says Jesús Carillo Barrientos, the Director of Public Works and Contracts at the Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT).
Some of the features of the trains include air-conditioned cars, television screens, security cameras and dedicated areas for passengers traveling in wheelchairs.
Running on electrical energy, the trains will be more environmentally friendly and reduce noise pollution.
Gerardo Ruiz also explained that the trains are largely operated from a control center with the driver’s role mainly being to ensure that they continue to run as expected and to report back to the central command.
Each five-car train will have a capacity of 719 passengers, with just under half of those seated, but during peak periods two trains can be joined to double the capacity.
Up to 230,000 passengers will be able to travel between the two cities on a daily basis, cutting their current travel time of up to two hours down to just 39 minutes.
The price for the full journey is expected to be between 75 and 90 pesos, comparable to the price commuters pay for the same journey by bus.
The service originating in Zinacantepec will have six stops including Toluca’s historic center, the Toluca Institute of Technology, where shuttle services will be available to Toluca’s airport, and the business district of Santa Fe before it reaches a terminal at Observatorio, where passengers can connect with the Mexico City metro system.
Source: El Universal (sp)