Lesson 1: Introduction to Mexico's Railroad System (Part 2)

México's Railroad System, a Brief and General Introduction -- Part 2


In 1996, Kansas City Southern (KCS), in a joint venture with the Mexican conglomerate Transportacion Maritima Mexicana (TMM), bought the Northeast Railroad concession that linked Mexico City, Monterrey, the Pacific port at Lázaro Cárdenas, and the border crossing at Laredo. The company was initially called Transportación Ferroviaria Mexicana (TFM) but was renamed Kansas City Southern de México (KCSM) in 2005 when KCS bought out TMM's interests. KCS's systems in the United States and Mexico jointly form an end-to-end rail system linking the heartlands of Mexico and the United States.

KCS has successfully increased freight volumes and operational efficiency, and has invested in an intermodal network consisting in three major hubs: Salinas Victoria in Monterrey (to serve México's northeast region), Interpuerto in San Luis Potosí (to serve México's central region), and Puerta México in Toluca (to serve the México City valley area).

The Northwest Railroad concession, connecting Mexico City and Guadalajara with the Pacific port of Manzanillo and various crossings along the United States border, was sold to a joint venture between Grupo Mexico and Union Pacific Railroad. The company operates as Ferrocarril Mexicano or Ferromex.

Ferromex's freight volumes have increased; it hauled a record 22,365 million ton-km in the first 6 months of 2010. Also, Ferrosur, the railroad serving Mexico City and cities/ports southeast of Mexico City, hauled their own record 3,565 million ton-kilometers. (source: "A record half". Railway Gazette International - London. September 9, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-12)

Ferromex has invested heavily in two major intermodal terminals, Guanajuato (to serve the central México region) and Monterrey (to compete with KCSM in the northeast region market).

There were two southern concessions, merged in 2000 to form Ferrosur. Ferrosur operates the line between Mexico City and the Gulf of Mexico port of Veracruz. In 2005, Ferrosur was bought by Ferromex's parent company.

The three major Mexican railroads jointly own Ferrocarril y Terminal del Valle de México (Ferrovalle) which operates railroads and terminals in and around Mexico City.

Private transload and cross-dock terminals have flourished along this railroad network, combining the efficiencies of the different transport modes. They operate under permits granted by the Mexican government, although several companies wrongfully offer services even without having the needed permits. While must of the Mexican railroad infrastructure dates back to the nineteenth century (certainly now upgraded by the concessions holders), many of these terminals are new, modern, and have comparable capabilities to the ones providing services in our northern neighbor countries.