Freight train companies operating in Mexico have until Jan. 15 to submit proposals outlining how their railways can be adapted to offer passenger transport, according to a draft Mexican government decree seen by Reuters on Friday.
Railroad operator Canadian Pacific Kansas City (CPKC) CP said in a statement it is reviewing the decree and was “engaged directly” with the government on the issue.
The company added it did “not expect an adverse impact on our concession” and had agreed to carry out studies for various potential passenger train routes.
“Interested parties must submit their proposals to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation” by Jan. 15, 2024, the draft decree stated.
Published on a government website and confirmed as authentic by an official, the order is part of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s drive to develop passenger train travel to improve Mexico’s transportation networks.
Lopez Obrador has warned that if companies including CPKC and conglomerate Grupo Mexico’s GMEXICO/B transport unit do not to offer passengers services on their existing freight rail corridors, the government will fill the void itself.
The draft decree, expected to become official on Nov. 20, states that priority will be given to passenger services over cargo on concession rail lines, without offering more details.
Over 20,000 km (12,400 miles) of railway could be opened up for passenger services, according to authorities.
One of the routes identified by the decree for potential passenger travel is the San Luis Potosi-Monterrey-Laredo corridor, which connects to the U.S. Midwest.
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