From the information presented in this article it is obvious that NAFTA is working and that Mexico is becoming a significant market for more than just grain.
The only railroad that runs from Brownsville/Matamoros to Monterrey is KCSM.
This article reports that the center span is scheduled to be installed in two weeks. (My Spanish is very rudimentary.) It is to delivered from Guadalajara.
I've seen a Union Pacific filing at the Surface Transportation Board proposing to abandon the rail line approach to the old bridge at Brownsville-Matamoros. This suggests that the West Rail bypass is approaching completion on both sides of the border. (Can't abandon unless a new through route is in place, right?) Don't know if things are ready to go on the south side of the Border. Anyone hear anything regarding a reliable completion/operational date for the bypass?
From this news link(May 24, 2012) --the construction on the Mexican (Tamaulipas) portion of the bridge approach has been halted. The SCT never completed an agreement with the local Ejido for passage over 700 meters of their land. This, does not appear to be a "deal breaker" the Ejido wants access points to their farmland on both sides of the tracks and -- more money.
In Mexico, Ejido are groups of indiginous people who were granted communal land rights in the Mexican Constitution (1926?). Ejidal have the right to develop their land (or sell it) without overview from the Federal or state governments. The US side, (bridge & approaches) according to Mexican reports, is complete.
Apparently, the bridge was to be fully completed by May 28, 2012 and there are financial sanctions to be imposed if it is not.
The link below is to an April, 2010 study by the Texas DOT. It provides an analysis of the truck and rail traffic in the Rio Grande Valley, Port of Brownsville, and the various international bridges.
The Executive Summary provides a brief synopsis of 15 significant area transportation studies between 2003 and 2010.
A blaring weakness of the current (2010) study is its lack of current data. The truck traffic cited is from 2003. The rail traffic -- 2007. (KCS completed the rebuild of Victoria - Rosenberg, mid 2009 and has substantially increased their own traffic since then.)
I find it grating that KCS' concession ownership of the former TFM is not acknoweledged.
Ah, I finally found a Mexican news report complete with pictures. (Granted they are only thumb prints at the bottom of the article, but, it seems that the bridge will be completed in May with the possibility of train traffic in June, 2012.
The last 3 seconds of this 44 second Fox News clip has two shots of the bridge under construction. The new bridge crosses Hwy 281 about 1/4 miles west of New Carmen Rd. Google maps satelite shows an earlier view of the construction on the "streetview".
How can this be good news for KCS? The bridge does not connect directly to (at least somewhat) independent port switching line. It links directly to UP owned tracks.
So KCS de Mexico can't use this as an alternative export facility from Monterrey, at least not without paying UP a mordida to move the cars a few miles.
KCS won in Laredo with its superior southeast corridor, but this will do them no good.
Seventy dollars a share is simply ridiculous for this non-dividend paying, twenty-six times trailing earnings stock: it's all speculation that there will be a Conrail style bidding war for KCS, and soon. These are nosebleed, quantum-effect tech growth stock valuations for a very Newtonian company.
About three weeks ago I came across a Mexican government Power Point presentation. It was about 60-70 pages in length and was discussing current infrastructure projects. It discussed the Matamoros rail bypass and showed a picture of the bridge being constructed on the US side. I saved the URL and was going to post the link -- but, somehow I deleted or misplaced the reference. After much searching I have found numerous references to the construction taking place on the West Rail Bypass (Brownsville) and, some Mexican embassy press releases. But, the link below is the only pictoral documentation I have found thus far:
Since this project is totally government funded--it will be interesting to learn what benefits accrue to UP as a result of their 50% ownership of the existant B&M International Rail Bridge and their former ownership of the ROW.
In March, 2010 the Mexican Federal transportation agency (SCT) rescinded FARAC III. It, (FARAC III) involved building a new toll highway and railroad bypass and bridges to Matamoros, Tamaulipas and then to Brownsville, Texas. A company owned by Carlos Slim Helu had been the lead bidder.
In September, 2011 another company (Ideal)owned by Mr. Helu was awarded a very nice group of highway contracts linking Guadalajara-Nogales-Tepic. These are in Western i.e. Pacific Mexico and inside the Ferromex/Ferrosur geographic franchise. Coincidence??
I have found two reports that have stated the heretofore lack of enthusiasm by the Mexican governments for a Port of Brownsville located international rail bridge and associated southern Matamoros bypass, was because of their preference to support the Port of Altamira (near Tampico) in south east Tamaulipas. Very understandable. Ferromex has a much shorter routing from Altamira to Monterrey (500km) KCSM (via SLP)probably 800 km.
KCSM Brownsville to Monterrey approx 320 km -- Ferromex does not have a direct route from Altamira to SLP.
Obviously, the machinations, lobbying, and potential rewards in the "Brownsville situation" are very complex.
Okay, no news is purcolating out of Brownsville or Matamoros about the UP proposed West Rail Bypass bridge. On page 8 of the link below is a nice map overlay of the proposed Brownsville West Rail Bypass.
Note, how the proposed West Rail bypass arcs around the Brownsville's main fresh water reservoir and, how it bridges upstream the water source for the reservoir.
Nah--ain't gonna happen. The proposed route of the West Rail Bypass puts the freshwater supply of both Brownsville and Matamoros at risk.
I presume Mssrs. Haverty, Erdman, Eaton, and Zozoya are behind the scene utilizing their powers of pursasion.
The original Brownsville Navigational District proposed bridge --downstream from both Brownsville and Matamoros then looping south around Matamoros is the only route that does not put the drinking water of 750,000 citizens at risk. It is a longer route but, it also removes UP as a bridge carrier that historically has held the BND for ransom.