Mexico Transport and Communications

The conformation of the land makes communications between the coastal plains and the plateau extremely difficult and even more those between the two seas, so that the intermediary function between the countries of Atlantic and Pacific America is almost completely canceled and of Asia, to which Mexico should be called due to its position. The same interoceanic railway line between Puerto México and Salina Cruz, the only Mexican transcontinental railway, had a purely transitory function and is in full decline after the opening of the Panama Canal. On the other hand, traffic in the direction of the meridians is easier and especially that between Mesa Central and the United States, while communications towards noon are less easy, both from the Mesa of Anahuac to the plateau of Oaxaca, both with the high lands of Chiapas and Guatemala beyond the isthmus. The peninsulas of Baja California and Yucatán are still isolated, the former clearly separated from the Gulf of California and difficult to reach through the semi-desert valley of lower Colorado; the second is equally isolated from the Gulf of Campeggio (Campeche) and the great impenetrable forests of Tabasco; communications with these two external territories take place only by sea or by air. For Mexico travel information, please check

The communications problem in Mexico is serious, but just as the partial progress of the Mexican economy in the last fifty years depended on the development of the railway network, so the further development of the road networks, now under construction, will facilitate the future rise of the country.

At the time of the conquest, the Spaniards found nothing but footpaths, because, given the absolute lack of pack animals and towed animals, the traffic was carried out only with human shoulder transports, a system still in use in the regions of prevalent Indian population and also in the most inaccessible areas without even mule tracks, as in Chiapas and in the Sierra Occidental. With the introduction of pack animals and towed animals, the construction of roads began, and the one that, passing through Xalapa, connected Veracruz with Mexico and that from Mexico to Acapulco, was famous. Unfortunately the construction of the railways (the first line from Mexico to Veracroz was inaugurated in 1873) caused the ordinary roads to fall into abandonment, which became simple local roads often impassable to wagons during some months of the year; only recently has the development of motor vehicles brought the problem of ordinary roads to the fore. The government has created a Comisión nacional de caminos charged with building and maintaining the roads using the income from the petrol tax for this purpose, and the works, which began only in 1925, are proceeding with great alacrity. The approved plan includes first of all six main lines, which starting from the capital will reach the borders, and precisely one from Mexico to Tijuana in Baja California, another that must reach Ciudad Juárez (El Paso) and a third Laredo. In addition, a large line will lead to the territory of Chiapas and Guatemala, while two other roads serve to connect the capital with the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

It is about building 16,400 km. of ordinary roads and of them in 1932 a third part was already completed which includes the car road from the capital to Laredo, trunk of the great Pan-American road, the one from Mexico to Acapulco (470 km.), the one from Mexico to Oaxaca and from Mexico in Pachuca, capital of the state of Hidalgo; the old roads from Mexico to Veracruz to Xalapa and Orizaba were then transformed into car routes. Car traffic is increasing more and more as shown by the number of cars in circulation, which went from 53,000 in 1925 to 87,665 in 1930.

The railway network, largely built under the Díaz regime, has subsequently grown and currently measures 39,375 km., Distributed in such a way as to bring together the main cities of the interior with each other and with the ports of heavy traffic, as well as with the states neighboring. The lines constitute two distinct networks: the first and largest is that of continental Mexico and has the capital as its center: the second is the network of Yucatán still not connected with the previous one. The major network includes the main lines that connect Mexico with the United States, namely the Mexico City-Laredo line which passes through Querétaro, S. Luis Potosí, Saltillo and Monterrey; the Mexico City-Ciudad Juárez line passing through Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Torreón and Chihuahua; and the South Pacific from Mexico to Nogales via Guadalajara, Tepic, Mazatlán, Culiacán, Guaymas and Hermosillo. Another line, which also starts from the capital, passing through Orizaba reaches the transoceanic railway of the Tehuantepec isthmus and from Juchitán continues southwards, crossing the state of Chiapas and íl Soconusco, up to the border of Guatemala, on the Río Suchiate. The transverse lines are less developed, none of which directly connects the Gulf coast with that of the Pacific, except for the aforementioned interoceanic railway of the isthmus, and this due to the almost insurmountable obstacles opposed by the Sierra Madre Occidental: the transverse railways are therefore limited to connect the high lands of the center with the ports of the Gulf coast. Monterrey is connected to the east with Matamoros and to the west with Durango, through Saltillo and Torreón; Monterrey is also connected with Tampico, the great oil port, which in turn is directly linked with S. Luis Potosí and Aguascalientes; the completion of the Guadalajara-Tepic of the South Pacific allows the connection of Veracruz with Mazatlán.

The Yucatán network has Mérida as its center and serves to connect the production areas of henequén with the ports of Progreso and Campeche.

The telegraph network, which includes over 38,000 km, is also very well developed. of lines, and the telephone network that connects the various cities with the capital, then connected directly to Washington. Radio-telegraphic communications are ensured by some main stations and by other minor ones.

On the other hand, navigation on the rivers is of little importance, limited to the short lower courses: there are regular services on the Río Pánuco on the Coatzacoalcos, on the Grijalba, on the Usumacinta, etc.

Numerous maritime communications, but while those between the various ports of the country are ensured by two Mexican companies, the direct lines with the ports of North America, Central and South America as well as with Europe are maintained by the large English companies, North American, German, French and Spanish: Italy too has a line exercised by the Compagnia Libera Triestina; direct communication with Asia is ensured by a Japanese company.

Mexico Transport