The high-speed Mexico City-Queretaro train, which will cover the 210-kilometer (130-mile) route at a speed of 300 kph (186 mph), will be the first of its kind in Latin America, the Communications and Transportation Secretariat said.
The train will carry 23,000 passengers per day “safely, quickly, comfortably and in an environmentally friendly way,” the secretariat said in a statement.
The high-speed rail line will benefit more than 25 million people economically and create 60,000 jobs during the construction phase, the secretariat said.
The train will offer service between Mexico City’s Buenavista station and downtown Queretaro, the capital of the like-named state, covering the distance in two hours.
The bidding rules for the project were published on July 25, the secretariat said, adding that the high-speed train would be part of an integrated transportation system designed to link the capital with the Bajio region in central Mexico.
The winning bidder will be required to sign a joint public works contract covering the design, construction, supply and operations of the project, the secretariat said.
The official international call for bids will take place on Aug. 15 and will be open to all firms interested in constructing the system.
Work is expected to start this year on the high-speed rail line, with the system projected to start operating in December 2017, the secretariat said.
The government privatized Mexico’s railroads in 1997, but the focus has been on freight service, leading to the virtual disappearance of passenger service on a 22,000-kilometer (13,670-mile) rail network.
Two passenger trains - the Tequila Express in Jalisco and El Chepe on the Chihuahua City-Los Mochis route - currently operate in Mexico, catering mainly to tourists.
A steam locomotive in Morelos state offers rides around the city of Cuautla.