News & Reviews News Wire Mexico’s President takes ride on rebuilt railway

Mexico’s President takes ride on rebuilt railway

By | September 20, 2023

Line links Gulf of Mexico with Pacific Ocean

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from brands. Sign-up for email today!

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s President López Obrador rode a passenger train from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico on Sept. 17 on the Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT) railroad, a $1 billion seaport-to-seaport rail project for passenger and cargo, Mexico News Daily reported. The train included former Amtrak Amfleet cars and a Budd-built dome car. The president’s test ride covered approximately 191 miles from Salina Cruz, Oaxaca, to Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz.

López Obrador and others posted videos showing people applauding the train in rural areas – on tracks that hadn’t been used by passenger trains since President Ernesto Zedillo (1994-2000) privatized the railway sector.

“More than 25 years without a passenger train passing,” Interior Ministry Luisa María Alcalde Luján wrote via official government accounts, according to the newspaper Milenio. “The people are happy.”

The trip was over the Ferrocarril del Istmo de Tehuantepec, also known as Ferrocarril Transístmico, or simply Ferroistmo. Owned by the Mexican government, it is leased to Ferrocarril del Sureste Ferrosur. It was formerly leased to Genesee & Wyoming until it gave up its concession in 2007. Originally it was known as the Tehuantepec Railway.

The project includes the rehabilitation of the railway built in 1907. It started to fall out of use upon the outbreak of the Mexican Revolution and the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. As part of the project, ten industrial parks will be built in the area surrounding the railway to encourage economic investment and industrial development in the region

Freight service over Mexico’s narrowest stretch between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean will be able to transport 1.4 million shipping containers annually on journeys of less than 6 hours, Mexican officials say. Economy Minister Raquel Buenrostro has said the trade corridor could account for as much as 5% of Mexico’s GDP in the future.

Forbes reported that passenger service is expected to be inaugurated next October, though López Obrador said last month that the train will be operational before his term ends on Sept. 30, 2024.

4 thoughts on “Mexico’s President takes ride on rebuilt railway

  1. Can I assume President Obrador’s train arrived at it’s destination on time. 🙂

    “Freight service over Mexico’s narrowest stretch between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean will be able to transport 1.4 million shipping containers annually on journeys of less than 6 hours, Mexican officials say.” Does that include the time it takes (un)loading ships.

    According to, the Panama Canal takes, “On average, it takes 8 hours for ships to cross the canal.” but doesn’t mention (un)loading time???

    If all is accurate, the Panama Canal is going to get some stiff competition, especially with the midway drought limitations they are currently experiencing. If all these canal limitations increase, the Panama Canal Railway might even have to resort to transporting intermodal sea containers. 🙁 Panama, and/or Costa Rica/Nicaragua, needs to develop a sea level canal like the Suez Canal, who BTW, recently experienced the world’s biggest wedgie.

  2. Interesting article. Always great to hear about railroads coming back

    However not so happy to hear that Amtrak sold off Amfleet before the Midwest/CA Siemen’s car were all accepted and in service. Further we on the Empire Corridor could certainly use them to expand consists on weekends in Western NY and for additional trains everyday in the Hudson Valley.

    Anyone know how many Amfleet cars were sold to Mexico?

    1. There were three of them and they came by way of a dealer. I saw them in an Alabama and Gulf Coast Railway train on their way to Mobile for shipping to Mexico. They had paint on them that suggested they’d been used in museum excursion service.

    2. Mr. Adams: For sure Empire Service trains have been operating with at most 5 coaches and a cafe/Business car since practically forever. But NYState DOT just doesn’t seem to care if prospective riders are being turned away because trains are routinely sold out. If they cared they would have gone to the legislature for an appropriation to purchase their own cars just like California did.

You must login to submit a comment