New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Discussion concerning Mexico's Class I railroad, and other Mexican rail operations. Official web-site: https://www.ferromex.com.mx/index-eng.jsp
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New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Aug 06, 2008 6:52 pm

http://translate.google.com/translate?h ... US226US226

To say the least, the return of passenger trains, albeit commuter, to Mexico (City) was indeed a well kept secret.

Operations over this 4'8.5' "heavy rail' (FRA compliance; well let's not worry 'bout that) system commenced this past June, and terminates at Buenavista Station - the former terminal for NdeM Long Distance trains such as the Mexico-Monterry El Regiomontano.

Of particular interest to anyone, such as myself, that boarded and alighted trains at Buenavista in the past is its "makeover" to a suburban train terminal and the redevelopment of the station property. The 1950 vintage "head house" is being retained. Such rebuilding is chronicled in a slide show at the linked site.

The only other passenger trains operating over the privitazed rail system today are Los Mochis - Creel over the Chihaua Pacific, and an excursion train Guadalajara-Tequilla. There may still be various "Mixto Diario" about.

As a condition precedent to US investment by UP and KCSin the rail system, all passenger trains were discontinued; the word was out "Don't even THINK about a Mextrak". As I've often noted over at the Amtrak Forum, for the US roads joining Amtrak, it is akin to the "Faustian pact with the Devil" as the LD trains will apparently be maintained indefinitely simply for political expediency. The US roads were not about to fall into the same quagmire "South of the Border".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwqf3Twn ... re=related
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:26 pm

It was discussed on that other forum, albeit briefly, about two months ago. I would imagine these trains are going to be packed during most hours.
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby george matthews » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:53 pm

As a condition precedent to US investment by UP and KCSin the rail system, all passenger trains were discontinued; the word was out "Don't even THINK about a Mextrak". As I've often noted over at the Amtrak Forum, for the US roads joining Amtrak, it is akin to the "Faustian pact with the Devil" as the LD trains will apparently be maintained indefinitely simply for political expediency. The US roads were not about to fall into the same quagmire "South of the Border".

It's called US imperialism in some parts of the world. "Do it our way, or else".
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby David Benton » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:34 am

when i visited Mexico city in the early 90's i was puzzled by the lack of commuter rail . i would say this will take off .
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby george matthews » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:06 am

David Benton wrote:when i visited Mexico city in the early 90's i was puzzled by the lack of commuter rail . i would say this will take off .

It's a city so large and crowded that there must be a huge suppressed demand to travel. That will result in road congestion. But I can see from the map that there is an extensive metro system.
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Aug 07, 2008 9:07 am

george matthews wrote:
As a condition precedent to US investment by UP and KCS in the rail system, all passenger trains were discontinued; the word was out "Don't even THINK about a Mextrak". As I've often noted over at the Amtrak Forum, for the US roads joining Amtrak, it is akin to the "Faustian pact with the Devil" as the LD trains will apparently be maintained indefinitely simply for political expediency. The US roads were not about to fall into the same quagmire "South of the Border".

It's called US imperialism in some parts of the world. "Do it our way, or else".


Mr. Matthews I realize your above expressed thought is endemic amongst the European community - or at least for the "166 and a wake-up" remaining in the incumbent Administration's term. However, I would like to think the essential elimination of passenger trains in Mexico arose from two parties negotiating a contractual agreement. Last time I checked, the UK also embraces private enterprise and parties negotiating an agreement amongst themselves.

Some twenty years ago, when the Mexican government wished to divest the State of its railroad systems, aka "privatize", they were looking for a buyer. They found two such US railroads interested in expanding their operations southward with the expectation of increased traffic arising from the NAFTA trade agreements as well as development of maritime ports of entry along Mexico's Pacific Coast that would be handling import (and export) traffic to (from) the USA. In view of the position that you can be assured is held by the management of any US Class I road that the only good passenger train is discontinued train, the two roads, namely the UP and passenger train free KCS, desired to have no passenger trains about the systems in which they were about to make a substantial investment (Mexican government still holds 49% of TFM, or roundly what comprised the former NdeM).

As I noted earlier within the captioned quotation, Amtrak was sold to the US roads with the intent that, after a "well we tried' period of time, the Long Distance trains (LD's in Amtrak Forumese) would be discontinued in an orderly manner. However politics ("we love our train , Congressman") interfered and the result is the indefinite maintenance of a system that primarily exists for little more than political expediency to garner funds for what is really needed - the Northeast Corridor. With this sorry piece of history in the minds of the US railroad negotiators, they simply set forth a condition that the passenger trains would go and as a likely aside "don't even think of a Mextrak'. Evidently, there was neither the regulatory apparatus, such as the ICC in the US, nor the political will (Mexico has a Federal republic, ostensibly democratic, modeled after that of the US), and removal of the passenger trains was a condition to which the parties agreed.

In short, Mr. Matthews, I hold that elimination of virtually all Mexican passenger trains was simply a product of bi-lateral negotiations and agreement resulting therefrom rather that any "US imperialistic" initiative. One party wanted "out of railroad operations' and another wanted no passenger trains; there was agreement with regard to these points, and the rest is history.
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby Rockingham Racer » Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:11 am

Went back and did some checking. The fare for the full 27km ride is currently 95 cents. Headways during rush hour are 6 minutes. Good service!
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby Thomas I » Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:41 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
george matthews wrote:
As a condition precedent to US investment by UP and KCS in the rail system, all passenger trains were discontinued; the word was out "Don't even THINK about a Mextrak". As I've often noted over at the Amtrak Forum, for the US roads joining Amtrak, it is akin to the "Faustian pact with the Devil" as the LD trains will apparently be maintained indefinitely simply for political expediency. The US roads were not about to fall into the same quagmire "South of the Border".

It's called US imperialism in some parts of the world. "Do it our way, or else".


Mr. Matthews I realize your above expressed thought is endemic amongst the European community - or at least for the "166 and a wake-up" remaining in the incumbent Administration's term. However, I would like to think the essential elimination of passenger trains in Mexico arose from two parties negotiating a contractual agreement. Last time I checked, the UK also embraces private enterprise and parties negotiating an agreement amongst themselves.

Some twenty years ago, when the Mexican government wished to divest the State of its railroad systems, aka "privatize", they were looking for a buyer. They found two such US railroads interested in expanding their operations southward with the expectation of increased traffic arising from the NAFTA trade agreements as well as development of maritime ports of entry along Mexico's Pacific Coast that would be handling import (and export) traffic to (from) the USA. In view of the position that you can be assured is held by the management of any US Class I road that the only good passenger train is discontinued train, the two roads, namely the UP and passenger train free KCS, desired to have no passenger trains about the systems in which they were about to make a substantial investment (Mexican government still holds 49% of TFM, or roundly what comprised the former NdeM).

As I noted earlier within the captioned quotation, Amtrak was sold to the US roads with the intent that, after a "well we tried' period of time, the Long Distance trains (LD's in Amtrak Forumese) would be discontinued in an orderly manner. However politics ("we love our train , Congressman") interfered and the result is the indefinite maintenance of a system that primarily exists for little more than political expediency to garner funds for what is really needed - the Northeast Corridor. With this sorry piece of history in the minds of the US railroad negotiators, they simply set forth a condition that the passenger trains would go and as a likely aside "don't even think of a Mextrak'. Evidently, there was neither the regulatory apparatus, such as the ICC in the US, nor the political will (Mexico has a Federal republic, ostensibly democratic, modeled after that of the US), and removal of the passenger trains was a condition to which the parties agreed.

In short, Mr. Matthews, I hold that elimination of virtually all Mexican passenger trains was simply a product of bi-lateral negotiations and agreement resulting therefrom rather that any "US imperialistic" initiative. One party wanted "out of railroad operations' and another wanted no passenger trains; there was agreement with regard to these points, and the rest is history.


And if I habe plenty of food and money and you have no food and money and Youa re hungry and I asked you things to do which you are really dislike but you need really something to eat and I am the only one who gives you food and money - do you mean when you argee to do the things I want you to do we have an fair contractual agreement?
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How The Game is Played (GBN Did not Write the Rules)

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Aug 07, 2008 12:20 pm

Mr. Thomas, that is a good description of where the US railroad industry found itself during the late '60's with regards to LD passenger trains. As I have noted at forums throughout this site, I was in railroad management - by no means high up, in fact entry level - on A-Day (May 1, 1971, the date of Amtrak inception). At that time the industry's condition could only be described as "desperate" - and passenger trains were clearly "taking more out of the cookie jar than they were putting in". While the financially stronger roads, such as UP and Santa Fe could have likely held on, the industry agreed that they would tacitly support the Amtrak initiative and largely, save special situations where a road (SRY RI and DRGW) had been successful with "self help' between the measuring period (CY 1969) and A-Day eliminating the passenger train burden, chose to join up.

I believe this was a decision that contemporary managers think of as analogous to a "Faustian pact with the Devil'.

But back to topic, again I can only reiterate that it is my opinion that US railroad negotiators did not want any part of passenger trains interfering with freight operations. Now not for one moment do I think that elimination of passenger trains once and for all was the top bargaining point for the negotiators, and it could well have been "given away' to get something else. But they did nevertheless "win' on this particular point.

Regarding negotiations, that is simply "how the game is played'; it is simply verbal combat where each side attempts to exploit the other's weaknesses and hopefully when it's over both parties will think that they won. Hopefully, the people of Mexico were relieved of the tax burden needed to support a woefully inefficient system (a railfan friend of mine has a slide taken on a 70's journey in his collection of an army of telegraphers at Buenavista sending messages about the NdeM by Morse), and the two US roads now had access to Mexico's industrial facilities on roads where hopefully labor reforms have been initiated.

Thus is simply how the game is played, Mr. Thomas, and unfortunately Mexican passenger trains (I rode 'em myself on several trips during the '70's) were a casualty of war.
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby george matthews » Thu Aug 07, 2008 1:00 pm

I think privatising rail systems and other public services is a bad idea. I think we have now tested it in several countries and the conclusion is that state ownership is in fact better. Mexico is a good piece of evidence. Britain and New Zealand also show up against private ownership.

Mexico is not the only third world country required to privatise its public services at the "request" of US interests.
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby David Benton » Thu Aug 07, 2008 2:46 pm

I don't know about required , i think it was more the political fashion in those ( fairly recent )years . to privatise as much as possible , regardless of social requirements , and wether it actually saves money overall or not . thankfully , i think those days are over . There may still be some privatisation , but not just for the sake of it .
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby george matthews » Thu Aug 07, 2008 5:46 pm

David Benton wrote:I don't know about required , i think it was more the political fashion in those ( fairly recent )years . to privatise as much as possible , regardless of social requirements , and wether it actually saves money overall or not . thankfully , i think those days are over . There may still be some privatisation , but not just for the sake of it .

It's required by the IMF. It's true there has been a fashion for it, following the "advice" of the late Milton Friedman, but that fashion was taken up by the Powers. I hope that fashion is now over.

As they say of Mexico: Poor Mexico, so far from God; so near to the United States.

The only account I have of passenger travel on Mexican trains suggest it was even worse than in the US, and so there was room for improvement.
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Aug 07, 2008 7:46 pm

Although Pullmans were "adequately" maintained during my three trips "south of the Border" during the '70's. This linked photo album might suggest that maintenance "got deferred' as Mexican passenger service wound down.

http://calzephyr.railfan.net/ghosts/mex/czmex.html
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Imperialism?

Postby 2nd trick op » Thu Aug 07, 2008 8:37 pm

Mexico has a long history of being able to choose its own path despite a weak economy and a limited number of options. It existed for nearly 70 years as a one-party "democracy" under the leadership of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) -- Anyone else see a contradiction in basic terms here?

Several of the Mexican revolutions of the early 20th century sounded a Marxist or collectivist note, yet the planned "reforms" proved untenable in the light of economic reality. Nevertheless, Mexico recognized the Soviet Union as early as 1924, and the United States did not intervene when President Cardenas nationalized all foreign oil interests and created PeMex in 1938.

In addition, like the French, Mexico has struggled for decades to retain its status as a completely secular state, cited by the Vatican, along with Soviet Russia and Spain, as part of the "Red Triangle" during the 1930's (source: John Cornwell, "Hitler's Pope; The Secret History of Pius XII" p 112).

In short, Mexico, like most nations in the developing world, is struggling toward development of the economic base needed to sustain a true parliamentary democracy, hampered by overpopulation, insufficient infrastructure,and the distortions of an economy controlled in part by gangsters and narco-plutocrats. And tht means, in turn, that economic changes that should be accomplished by the free flow of capital are sometimes hastened along by bureaucratic fiat.

If there's a redeeming thread in this discussion, it's that the same process which brought a quick end to traditional rail passenger service in Mexico a few years ago has also recognized the need for commuter rail service in those situations for which is is a good fit. But to depict these actions as "imposed" by American "imperialism" is quite a stretch of the imagination.
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Re: New Commuter Rail System - Mexico DF

Postby Tadman » Wed Oct 29, 2008 2:13 pm

I rode the Chepe in 1993 - before it became a tourist operation - and it wasn't bad. I liked the fact that Mexico is a non-litigious society, so they let me hang out the dutch door all day long. I've still got pics of baby TM's turned on their side in LaJunta taken from an open dutch door. However, things aren't going to change any time soon and it appears the operation will remain solely freight save for recent commuter trains in the DF and the two tourist operations.
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