Ferromex & KCSM - Querétaro to Mexico City

From Querétaro to Mexico City, Ferromex and KCSdeM's mainlines both roughly parallel eachother through the high valley and passes of Querétaro, Hidalgo and Mexico states. South of Querétaro, Ferromex was awarded NdeM's Linea B through the privatization process. This is slow, steep and windy single-tracked mainline. Linea A was then awarded to TFM as the southern section of their Nuevo Laredo to Mexico City mainline. In the 1980's, NdeM rebuilt this line, creating a high-speed double tracked mainline with the intent of running electrified high-speed freight trains with freight-geared E60C's. However, after privatization TFM elected to remove the catenary lines in order to allow clearance for double stacks and auto racks.
Querétaro Canyon

Directly east (railroad south) of Querétaro, both mainines enter Querétaro Canyon for the short climb into the Valle de San Juan del Rio. Ferromex has trackage rights on KCSM's Linea A through the canyon.

A southbound Ferromex manifest train is climbing through Querétaro Canyon on KCSM's Linea A. Ferromex's Linea B is visible below on the left.

Ferromex map of Linea B. Note, KCSM tracks are not shown.

A northbound Ferromex train passing through the short tunnels at Hercules.

A southbound KCSM train passing above the town of La Cañada.

A long southbound TFM train lead by a single Super 7 is passing through two of the short tunnels in Querétaro Canyon. A near by detector read off 518 axles, at 9 KPH.

The San Juan del Rio Valley

Upon exiting Queretaro Canyon, the tracks enter the fertile and flat Valle de San Juan del Rio. Line A and Linea B connect at La Griega in order to allow Ferromex trains onto their own rails for the mountainous climb to Mexico City. South of La Griega, the two lines quickly spread to opposite sides of the valley as they approach the mountains through separate passes.

At La Griega, there is a connection between Linea A and B. Above, a northbound intermodal train will continue straight, staying on Linea B through Querétaro Canyon while a southbound manifests waits on KCSM trackage. Once the intermodal train passes, the southbound crosses over onto Ferromex trackage (below) to continue on toward Mexico City.


At Viborillas, KCSM's Linea BC (the shortcut from San Luis Potosi and Laredo) crosses Ferromex's mainline at grade.

A southbound Ferromex train (above) hits the diamond at Viborillas. Below, a short TFM intermodal train passes over the diamond. This southbound train will soon connect to Linea A at Ahorcado, and continue south toward Mexico City.

Leaving Viborillas, this southbound TFM train from Monterrey approaches Ahorcado on Linea BC.

This northbound TFM train has just entered Linea BC from Linea A at Ahorcado. This signal visible in the distance is the approach to the connection at Ahorcado. The trackage diverging to the right of the train leads to a new grain elevator that receives unit trains of grain from the US. Although the facility is still growing, the unloading loop routinely handles 110 car trains from KCSM.

The Mountains - Linea A

At the south end of the valley, KCSM's Linea A begins the steady climb into the mountains of Hidalgo. The tracks pass through the city of San Juan del Rio, which is situated at the south west corner of the valley.

This northbound train is descending into the valley. In the distance is the city of San Juan del Rio, situated on a hillside over looking the valley.

A southbound is slowly climbing the grade at San Juan del Rio on a rainy summer morning. In the distance, the train can be seen curving toward the impressive concrete bride over the Rio San Juan.

Above San Juan del Rio, the line passes through

a horseshoe curve, doubling back through the outskirts of town as it gains elevation. The line also passes through a few tunnels in this area. Above, a southbound KCSM manifest train is passing through Tunnel 8 as it climbs toward Hidalgo. Below, moments later this empty auto train is passing through the same tunnel on the other main track. The train is lead by a brand new ES44AC, still wearing its GE applied primer. The unit will eventually be painted into KCSM's "belle" paint scheme in San Luis Potosi.

The Mountains - Linea B

Meanwhile, Ferromex's Linea B begins climbing further to the east. This line is much steeper and more windy than the modernized Linea A. Linea B climbs to a pass above the resort town of Tequisquiapan before descending into a neighboring valley in Hidalgo state.

Beginning the climb out of the Valle de San Juan del Rio, the line passes above Presa Centenario, a reservoir near San Nicholas.

Above Tequisquiapan, the tracks curve southward into a canyon that leads toward the summit of the climb. Above, a northbound intermodal train loops around the hillside as it descends into the distant valley.

A southbound grain train is curving into the canyon nearing the summit.

Northbound autoracks are descending through the canyon.

At the summit above Tequisquiapan, the tracks pass through a rock-lined tunnel under the ridge. The tunnel passes under the Querétaro-Hidalgo state line. Here, a northbound train is still pulling hard as it exits the north portal of the tunnel.

Emerging into Hidalgo, this southbound is beginning the easy descent into a broad valley near the village of San Joaquin.

In the middle of this valley is the city of Huichipan. Here, the line begins to climb again, encountering a stiff grade as the tracks climb southward. Here, a southbound grain train is curving through Huichapan siding as it begins to climb through the city of Huichipan.

Shot from the engineer's seat of a southbound Super 7, a northbound train approaches the south switch of Huichapan siding.

In the highlands of Hidalgo, early morning fog often fills the valleys. Here, a long southbound train is looping around the town of San José Atlan - although it is not visible. (scanned from B&W negative)

At San Sebastian, the line passes through two horseshoe curves as it loops up the hillside to gain elevation. This northbound intermodal train is curving through the bottom loop while coasting down-grade without its headlights on.

This intermodal train is negotiating the lower loop moments after sunrise.

This southbound train is slowly climbing the grade between the two loops.

Passing through the upper loop, this southbound manifest is down to a crawl as it slowly climbs the grade.

This southbound train is exiting the upper loop, once again heading southward toward toward Mexico City.

Meanwhile, on the opposite side of this valley, KCSM's Linea A crosses a plateau that keeps their route level, straight and fast. This train is leaning into a curve above the town of Nopala. The resevoir there can be seen in the distance.

On the Ferromex line, the grade begins to let up at Nopala. Here, the tracks run along the banks of a large reservoir as they continue to climb toward a summit south of the town.

A heavy southbound train is slowly grinding toward Nopala siding. In the distance, a northbound can be seen waiting in the siding for the train to pass. (scanned from B&W neagative)

This southbound is passing through Nopala. Notice the Ferromex painted speeder in the siding.

The section houses at Nopala are still in use by the local track gang.

South of Nopala, Linea A and Linea B converge again at Argon, sharing the same right of way over the summit of the grade. Although there is a connection between the two lines, they are opperated seperately. This southbound train is entering the shared right of way at Argon on Linea B. The two tracks to the left are KCSM's double tracked mainline. The train can still be seen in the distance winding through the town of Nopala.

A fast northbound intermodal train at Argon on Linea A. Ferromex's Linea B is in the foreground.


Maravillas is the summit of the grades between Queretaro and Mexico City. Here, the two lines diverge again to the south, begining the descent into the Valle de Mexico and Mexico City.

A northbound TFM train is easily passing through Maravillas on Linea A.

On Ferromex's Linea B, a northbound empty grain train is climbing toward the summit. The difference of grades and curvature on Linea A and B is easily visible here.

A northbound intermodal train approadching Maravillas on a stormy afternoon.

The empty grain train climbing between Escandon and Maravillas.

At the same location, this short intermodal train has enough power to easily make it up the grade to Maravillas.


After descending into the Valle de Mexico, Linea A and Linea B again connect at the city of Huehuetoca. It is at Huehuetoca that Ferrovalle (FC Terminal Valle de Mexcio - the terminal railway of Mexico City) ownership of both lines begin. From the connection with Linea B, if is four main track the rest of the way into Mexico City.

In the 1980's, Linea A was rebuilt almost entirely on a new allignment. The original line still exists in many places - often used for storage of condemned cars. here, a southbound train has descended out of the distant hills and is arriving at Huehuetoca. Linea A joins the original right of way - seen diverging to the right.

The same southbound TFM train is shown passing a Ferrovalle switcher at Huehuetoca.


Anonymous said...

Does Ferromex fully own the line westward from Querétaro to Ameche (where KCSM branches off to the north), or is it a joint ownership with KCSM through Querétaro?

Téa said...

I work for an International organisation, which deals with transport issues. In this context, we are going to publish a Mexican railways report, and we would very much like to illustrate the cover with one of your picture. Of course we would like to buy it. Can I get in touch with you? Please find below my personnal mail: florence.quagliarini@free.fr

Thanks a lot

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