Mexican court orders halt to work on the second section of Mayan rail line

A district judge in the Yucatán state of Campeche has brought work on a 235km stretch of the Mayan rail line to a halt by granting an injunction claiming that it may cause irreparable damage to the environment.

The ruling halts construction of the second section of the $8bn project, which runs between Escárcega and Calkiní in Campeche.

This part of the line was won by a consortium controlled by billionaire Carlos Slim, including his Operadora Cicsa, and FCC, a Spanish contractor controlled by his Inversora Carso investment company. The group offered a price of $940m for the work.


The Mexican government’s map of the Mayan railway with section two shown in orange

A request for an injunction against the line was filed in the First District Court of Campeche in July by more than 100 environmental and indigenous organisations on the grounds that it would violate article four of Mexico’s constitution by causing deforestation and soil erosion, and contaminating the Yucatán’s aquifer.

The environmental damage would also violate the rights of the indigenous Mayan people, the filing claimed.

One representative of the Calakmul communities was quoted by the Novedades news site as saying: "Our rights were violated by the failure to carry out an environmental impact assessment of the entire project and not allowing us true access to information and participation.

"In Calakmul, we do not have drinking water; what we have is rain. We have already have approximately 40,000 tourist visits a year, and with this project the number of inhabitants we have will double, and the resources are not enough."

In May, a federal court reversed another suspension after it was challenged by the National Tourism Promotion Fund (Fonatur), which is managing the 1,500km project.

The project is divided into seven sections including two to be built by the army. President López Obrador officially inaugurated the project in June, pledging that it would be completed by October 2022.

Top image: Temple of the Masks in Kabah, in the Puuc region of western Yucatan (Rob Young/CC BY-SA 3.0) 

Further reading:

Spanish-Mexican team wins third section of Maya train line

Carlos Slim consortium wins second section of Mexico’s Maya train line

Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese giants join Mexican companies bidding for Mayan Rail contract


Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News