Ruiz confirmed during the signing ceremony that economic, technical, and environmental studies are underway, and the government is considering three potential options for the project: modernisation of the existing 245km line, building of a completely new line, or a combination of existing and new-build construction. Services will operate at 160-180km/h with a journey time of less than two hours.

A similar agreement was signed in Merida, Yucatán, on January 25 to construct a new line from Merida to Puerto Venado in the neighbouring state of Quintana Roo, and upgrade the existing railway between Valladolid and Merida. The Federal government has already allocated $US 2.32m for studies on the 278km line, which will be used by both freight and passenger trains and designed for operation at speeds of up to 180km/h.

Both projects were announced by Mexico's newly-elected president Mr Enrique Peña Nieto at his inauguration last month.