Chinese consortium wins one-horse race for $3.7bn Mexican train line

Mexico’s Transport and Communications Ministry has announced that the Chinese-led consortium that was the sole bidder for a $3.7bn high-speed rail link has won the work.  

The 220km line that will run between Mexico City and the rapidly growing industrial centre of Querétaro is to be constructed by the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) along with Mexican companies Prodemex, Constructora y Edificadora GIA, Constructora Teya and GHP Infraestructura Mexicana.  

The rolling stock on the line is to be provided by the China South Locomotive & Rolling Stock Corporation (CSR), which makes the CRH series of high-speed locomotives. When the Querétaro line is complete in 2017, they will be able to make the trip in 56 minutes. 

The CRCC team was the sole bidder, but the ministry said it would retender the project if its bid was deemed unacceptable. Other companies, including the European firms Siemens and Alstom, were unable to prepare an offer in time and were denied an extension. 

China’s Export-Import Bank will put $2.9bn towards the price tag for the line, which  covers the build cost and five years of operation. 

The project will involve the construction of 15.9km of viaducts and 11.6km of tunnels. The service will initially serve 27,000 passengers a day, and will travel at speeds of up to 300kmh. 

CSR will provide eight-car CRH380A train sets, each of which seat up to 426 passengers. 

The Mexican government hopes that the train line will take 18,000 cars off Mexico’s chronically congested roads by 2017. The line is envisaged as the beginning of a larger programme to create a high-speed network between the country’s main population centres. 

Construction is due to start in February next year.

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