Railways sector in Mexico

Over the past decade, Mexico has re-evaluated the importance of railways as a competitive and efficient means of freight transportation. As of 2008, freight transportation figures have practically doubled in ten years, and the first suburban transportation train line began operations in 2008.

Market overview

Under President Felipe Calderon’s National Infrastructure Programme, an unprecedented effort is being made towards improving the scope, quality, and coverage of infrastructure in the country — railways included. As part of this programme, a US$5 billion investment is being devoted to projects in this particular sector.

Key objectives include:

  • Adding connectivity to the current 26,667 km railway network

  • Increasing the average speed from 24 to 40 km/hour

  • Developing the first stages of a Suburban Train network in Mexico City

  • Building a variety of underpasses, overpasses, and bypasses with the appropriate signage.

Key opportunities

Several projects are yet to be launched and tendered, such as:

Morelia Rail Bypass

The City of Morelia is located between Lázaro Cardenas, the fastest growing commercial port in Mexico, its rail connection to Mexico City and the East Coast of the USA. At present, train traffic goes right through the city, creating a bottleneck. The main goals are to:

  • Minimise train interaction with the population.

  • Increase the train’s operational speed.

  • Reduce operational costs.

Project details:

  • Length: 79.4 km.

  • Surface: 240 hectares.

  • Cost: US$275 million.

Celaya Rail Bypass

Celaya is a fast growing industrial city at the crossroad of two main rail lines. At present, 35 trains cross through the city centre, causing congestion and delays in operation.


  • Minimise train interaction with the population.

  • Increase the train’s operational speed.

  • Reduce operational costs.

  • Increase train traffic and payload by 62% in the first 10 years.

Project details:

  • Length: 45.5 km.

  • Surface: 212 hectares.

  • Cost $185 Million USD

Suburban Lines

In Mexico City, the first suburban rail line was launched in late 2008, connecting Mexico City with the State of Mexico. There is the possibility of expanding Line 1 (52 kilometres) with three auxiliary lines, namely: Cuautitlán-Huehuetoca, San Rafael-Tacuba, and Lechería-Jaltocan.

Further development of suburban rail operations is planned with Line 3 in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area.

  • Line 3 will connect the municipalities of Chalco and Iztapalapa along a 31-kilometre line in the State of Mexico. The tender is scheduled to be launched with the new Country’s administration.

Line 3 will consist of:

        • Approximately 25 kilometres of electrified and confined passenger track.

        • 2 terminals and 13 stations, transfer centres and maintenance garages.

        • Complementary works such as vehicular, pedestrian and railroad bridges.

Other opportunity areas include:

  • Metro extension plans in Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara (calling for qualified cost and project planners).

  • Electric train line 3 in Guadalajara.

  • Cargo Security.

  • Safety/Signalling.

Latest export opportunities in the Railways sector

Latest export opportunities in Mexico

Getting into the market

We encourage British companies to approach well in advance the local authorities that are in charge of projects, since very frequently the time between a tender’s launch and the required proposal submission date is extremely short. Approaching them beforehand is desirable to have an insight of what they need and ask for. It is important to build relationships in the market, so that key local players and decision makers will be aware of your expertise and keep you in mind when forming bidding consortia. In many instances, UK companies choose to partner with local counterparts, benefiting from their business know-how

More about doing business in Mexico


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits through our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

Contact your local international trade team

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events in the Railways sector

Major Events

AMF Exporail 2012

Location: Guadalajara

Date: November


Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Railways
Countries: Mexico
Export Action Plan