Start-up of Mexico City airport freight rail line pushed back

Monday, July 3, 2017

The start of operations for the freight railway to be used to transport construction materials to the site of the new Mexico City international airport – currently under construction – has been pushed back to August.

The news comes courtesy of Erich Wetzel, general director of Ferrovalle, the firm responsible for building the line, as he spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a transport forum in Mexico's Quintana Roo state.

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The Ferrovalle executive said that the cost of the project will be 1.2bn pesos (US$65.8mn), some 38% more than the 864mn pesos originally estimated.

The price increase was due to the rise of the dollar against the peso and the payments made to secure the right-of-way for the rail line, reported local daily El Economista.

According to Wetzel, the company still needs to acquire around 5% of the land needed for the rights-of way, although construction of the line has advanced 50%.

The line was originally scheduled to be ready in September of last year, with Ferrovalle subsequently pushing back the date to April of this year, citing delays in negotiations with local farmers to purchase the land through which the line will run.

The line will be 9km long, 7km of which will run parallel to the Pirámides-Ecatepec highway, and it will connect Ferrovalle's line S to the site of the new airport. The company is responsible for providing the investment for the initiative.

Six trains will be used to move between 97,000t and 200,000t of material per day to the airport site. Transport time from the collection centers to the delivery sites will be 90 minutes, not considering loading and unloading times.

Once the new airport starts operating, the line could be used to move cargo to and from the cargo terminal that will be built at the new airport.

Ferrovalle is owned by Kansas City Southern de México, Ferromex, Ferrosur and Mexico's federal government.

The new airport is expected to start operations in 2020. The first phase includes three runways and will have capacity to handle up to 50mn passengers a year. When complete, the airport will have six runways and will be able to handle 120mn passengers per year.