CONSORTIA led by Alstom and CAF have submitted bids of just under the $US 2bn limit set by Mexico’s Fonatur, the state tourism authority, for the rolling stock contract for the 1452km Mayan Train project on the Yucatan peninsula.

The tender, which was announced in November, is split into four elements. It includes the supply of a mixed fleet of 42 trains comprising 32 electro-diesel and 10 diesel sets, ETCS Level 1 signalling and train protection, telecommunications and radio systems and control centres for the project.

The winning bidder will also be required to design, construct and equip maintenance depots as well as maintain the fleet and provide after sales services. Alstom’s bid is Pesos 36.6bn ($US 1.84bn) while CAF has offered Pesos 37.5bn.

The trains will be operated on the first five sections of the line from Palenque via SF Campeche, Izamal, and Cancun to Tulum. There is also an option to purchase an additional 27 sets for the remaining two Mayan Train sections, which are new build sections between Tulum, Bacalar and Escárcega. The network will be electrified on a 690km stretch between Merida on section three and Chetumal on section six.

The members of the Alstom consortium include Mexican builder Gami and Spain’s Grupo Azvi, which is building the third stretch of the Mayan Train network, from Calkiní in Campeche to Izamal in Yucatán.

CAF, which provided the rolling stock for the Mexico City - Toluca line and Mexico City’s only commuter rail line, is in alliance with Spanish construction company Rubau.

The result of the tender is set to be announced on May 26. Both CAF and Alstom possess manufacturing facilities in central Mexico, where they can build the rolling stock.

CRRC no show

Speculation had surrounded the possibility of other competitors for the contract, not least China’s CRRC. But CRRC failed to present a bid, adding the sour note of an accusation of the alleged lack of a level playing field.

The absence of an offer from CRRC was something of a bolt from the blue in view of the prominence of the Chinese company’s position in the international industry. In addition, its representatives were always present at every preparatory meeting for the tender.

However, in a letter to Mexican president Mr Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Mr Gao Feng, the   representative of CRRC, voiced the company’s disquiet. According to an extract from the letter published by the daily business newspaper El Economista, Gao Feng wrote: “In this process, we would like you to avoid any restrictions on the presence of any and all companies under the same terms and conditions of all competitors.”

The implication of the complaint was that companies from some countries - presumably China - were not being treated fairly.

The letter added that CRRC wanted to supply the rolling stock within 19 months, rather than the 24 that Fonatur was planning for. This was because of the Chinese company’s industry leadership, the letter advised the president.

There was no reply to the letter, nor is there expected to be any CRRC presence at the May 26 event.

For an in-depth report on the Mayan Train project, see the November 2020 edition of IRJ p36, or click here.