The first of nine brandnew light rail vehicles for the Tren Ligero in the south suburbs of the metropolis of Mexico City (Ciudad de México) has just be presented by the manufacturer. The Tren Ligero is the last remnant of the once very extensive tram network – today it is a 13 km long light rail line. It originated from the former suburban line of the tram to Xochimilco and ends today at the metro station Tasqueña of metro line 2. After two years of reconstruction, it went back into service in 1986 with elevated platforms and completely on its own alignment with some level crossings as a modern light rail.
The fleet initially consisted of 16 articulated trainsets of local manufacturing using decommissioned PCC tram components. In 1991, 12 six-axle, two-section Bombardier TE-90 with e-technology from Siemens AG, assembled by Constructora Nacional de Carros de Ferrocarril (National Wagon Building Company), wstarted service. Externally, they were based on the well-known Düwag light rail vehicle type B, and were numbered 017 to 028.
A further 12 trains of identical design followed in 1995, 2008 and 2014, designated TE-95, TL-06 and TL-12, and numbered 029-040. Of these units, however, all of the 1991 cars (TE-90) are now already out of service and stored for scrapping, while of the newer ones, 029, 030, 031, 032, 034, 035, 037, 038, 039 and 040 are currently serviceable. Two units of the series have just been refurbished and returned to STe for re-entry into passenger service shortly. Overall, however, the fleet is by any means insufficient for the current passenger demand, the trains are overcrowded during most hours of the day and passengers often have to wait for the next train.
Therefore, the operating company Servicio de Transportes Eléctricos (STE) ordered new light rail vehicles from the Chinese manufacturer CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive to strengthen the fleet. Instead of the originally planned and budgeted 6 units, 9 could be ordered in the end – due to the favourable price offered by the manufacturer. Total investment is approximately 600 million Mexican pesos (=approx. 33 million EUR). The external dimensions of the cars are largely the same as those of the six-axle, two-car units that have been running up to now. CRRC states the passenger capacity at 483 passengers. The trains can run in double traction, but in practice they will be used to increase frequency to 4-minute intervals during the day. CRRC also supplies light rail vehicles of similar design to Monterrey.
(Update of the orginal report published on 23 July 2023)