Mexico is reportedly planning to shorten the proposed Mayan Train route, a move that will significantly reduce project costs.
National Fund for Tourism Promotion (Fonatur) legal director and project supervisor Alejandro Varela told Reuters that the cutback will reduce 55km of direct link between Valladolid and Cancun. It is estimated to cut costs by nearly Mex$5.5bn ($287m).
The Mayan Train is a proposed 1,525km railroad that would traverse the Yucatán Peninsula connecting the tourist destinations in the region.
The project was announced by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in September last year. Besides promoting tourism, the project is will support the local economy, connecting them with the industrialised northern part of Mexico.
Varela told the news agency that each kilometre of track will cost around Mex$100m. Accordingly, the revised 1,470km project, is estimated to cost around $7.7bn.
Under the new design, Fonatur will operate the Mayan train from Valladolid to Tulum. It will then travel to Cancun, the city bordering the Caribbean Sea.
The previous design involved a running track from Valladolid to Cancun along an existing highway, which would have required the construction of bridges, thereby increasing project costs.
Varela said: “Going the route of the highway, it was too expensive.”
Overall, the railroad will start in Palenque in Chiapas, travelling northeast through three routes to terminate at Cancun. The Mayan Train will stop at 15 stations. It is estimated to start operations in 2023.