THE Mexican government’s National Fund for Tourism Development (Fonatur) has confirmed that the Mayan Train project will connect with the north-south Isthmus of Tehuantepec Interoceanic Corridor (CIIT).

The CIIT project is aimed at providing a rail link between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans as an alternative to the congested Panama Canal. The project comprises three lines: Line Z, connecting the states of Veracruz and Oaxaca; Line FA running through Veracruz, Chiapas and Tabasco regions; and Line K, connecting Oaxaca and Chiapas.

The Mayan Train project is divided into seven sections and will run from Palenque to Escárcega and then in a loop around the Yucatán Peninsula serving Mérida and Cancún and numerous tourist sites. The 690km section from Mérida via Cancún to Chetumal Airport will be electrified.

Mayan Train director general, Mr Óscar David Lozano Águila, announced the new connection with CIIT during a presentation on progress with building section 1 of the Mayan Train network, which runs from Palenque, Chiapas, to Escárcega, Campeche.

An interchange will be built at Palenque next year to allow the movement of wagons between the Mayan Train and CIIT projects. A yard will also be built in Escárcega, Campeche, to accommodate trains carrying freight including fuel, cement, steel, grain, perishables and vehicles.

The first section of the Mayan Train project is due to open in December.