Mexico announces plan for first high-speed train service

Mexico on Sunday announced the opening of an international tender to build a high-speed passenger train linking Mexico City and the industrial city of Queretaro.

The project, which was previously estimated to cost about $3.3 billion, would allow travel over the 210 kilometers (130 miles) between the Mexican capital and Queretaro at up to 300 kph, moving 23,000 passengers a day, Mexico’s transport ministry said in a statement.

The ministry gave no price estimate, adding that work would begin this year and operations would start in the second half of 2017.

The ministry said it expects the project to create 20,000 direct jobs and take 18,000 passenger cars off the road.

Bombardier Inc, the world’s biggest train manufacturer, will likely bid on the project, the company’s Mexico chief said last year.

Markus Mildner, executive vice president of Siemens Mexico , has said the German industrial conglomerate is also interested in bidding on rail projects.

Last year, the Mexican government said it would tender three train projects, including the Mexico City-Queretaro line, worth a combined 97 billion pesos ($7.5 billion).

Resurrecting intercity passenger rail was one of the promises made by President Enrique Pena Nieto before his election in 2012.

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