Mexico City.- The government’s plan to revive the passenger rail system is not profitable and faces limitations that make it unfeasible, specialists said.
Carlos Barreda Westphal, representative in Mexico of Stella-Jones Corp, said that almost 14 percent of the 26,891 kilometers of railway is in disuse, with sections invaded, destruction, deterioration of tracks and no demand.
This would be the first challenge to make the passenger train service viable, he added.
In June, the Secretariat of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation included in this year’s National Railway Program 15 railway projects in 17 entities for 672 thousand 186 million pesos, which include passenger trains.
“Reviving this type of service could be justified if it could indirectly generate wealth in the population that mobilizes, as is the case in other countries,” explained Barreda.
The initiative would have to be validated based on the existence of an excess demand for the service that would complement the alternatives offered, he added.
“The advantage of the trains should be analyzed with respect to the truck service that operates on a much broader highway network, or even compared to the offer of low-cost flights,” he commented.
Jaime Paredes Camacho, an academic from UNAM, consultant and railway expert, said that passenger transport by rail is not profitable, so it would require government subsidies.
The passenger train requires changes and investment, project feasibility studies, since there is an offer of 400 thousand kilometers of highways against 26 thousand kilometers of railway, he explained.