President Enrique Pena Nieto outlined a plan to launch high-speed passenger rail service in Mexico.
Although the country has a network of rail lines that link cargo ports on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts with assembly plants in the northern part of Mexico, there are few tourist trains. Passenger service was shut down in the 1990s.
Feasibility studies and cost estimates are being drawn up for a high-speed rail system, linking Mexico City with Queretaro city, 120 miles to the northwest, in two hours.
The train will operate at speeds of up to 110 mph and is expected to cost approximately $4.5 billion with the federal and state governments funding the project.
Engineering studies are to be completed by early March, with the train expected to start operating between 2015 and 2016.
Queretaro, one of the smallest of Mexico’s states, is known for its music, art, handicrafts, Unesco World Heritage sites and arched aqueduct system, built in the early 1700s. It is a featured stop on Mexico’s Ruta del Vino or Wine Route.
Long-term plans would extend this route to Guadalajara. Another proposed route would link the colonial city of Merida with the Riviera Maya, although there is no timeline on this project to date.