PROPOSALS to develop a network of high speed passenger railways in Mexico moved forward at the end of April, when the Ministry of Communications & Transport appointed Systra to assist with drawing up tenders for the first route.

The Mexican government has been developing its strategy since 2002, and expects to launch a competition in mid-2005 for construction of a 300 km/h line between Mexico City and Guadalajara. With intermediate stations serving Querétaro and Irapuato, the route would serve a catchment area with around 28 million inhabitants. The aim is to cut the journey time between the two cities to 2h.

Systra is being supported by a local firm providing legal assistance, and by Sintra SA de CV on technology transfer and integration issues. In the second phase of the project, Systra will assist the ministry with drawing up contracts and concession documents covering design, construction and operation of the double-track line.