Mexico: CIIT Nears Test Operations

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The Interoceanic Corridor of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec (CIIT, for Corredor Interoceánico del Istmo de Tehuantepec), expected to undergo a “supervised test run” on Sept. 17, received a recent visit from Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). The President, who will leave office on Sept. 24, 2024, was touring what is widely regarded as his most important project, with the potential to offer a long-term boost to the Mexican economy and develop the industry and economy of the country’s largely rural, economically poor southern states. CIIT, Mexican officials say, has the potential to be a “cheaper, faster alternative” to the Panama Canal.

AMLO presented CIIT’s initial locomotive, ex-Union Pacific 4378, an EMD SD70M built for UP in 2001, released after lease expiration, and rebuilt by Metro East Industries in East St. Louis, Mo. The unit is in a Government of Mexico livery featuring women dressed in the traditional clothing of Oaxaca, Veracruz, Chiapas and Tabasco. (Editor’s Note: Retired Union Pacific Senior Director Locomotive Engineering and Railway Age Contributing Editor Mike Iden’s signature was on the acceptance certificate for 4378 when it was delivered to UP.)

Under the supervision of Mexico’s Secretariat of the Navy, the 188-mile (303 km) CIIT is being built to connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans with a mixed-used (freight and passenger) railroad crossing the Isthmus of Tehuantepec from Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz to Salina Cruz, Oaxaca on mostly long-neglected right-of-way. The project also includes modernization and growth of the ports at Coatzacoalcos and Salina Cruz, and of the Minatitlán and Salina Cruz oil refineries in southern Mexico. It also plans to attract private investment through creation of 10 industrial parks in the Isthmus area. At Coatzacoalcos, the railroad connects with CG Railway LLC, the rail ferry service from Mobile, Ala., a joint venture of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. and SEACOR Holdings Inc. One section of CIIT goes to Palenque, Chiapas, where it will connect with the Maya Train (Tren Maya), another government railway project.

Source : Railwayage