“Tren Maya” is one of Mexico’s largest ongoing infrastructure projects with international participation. The railway line, which will be over 1,500 kilometres long when complete, will pass various Mayan tourist sites as well as other cities and beaches. The project is currently in the final phase with the first trains scheduled to start running in mid-2024 – also thanks to the timely delivery of products from Getzner. “We can help to significantly minimise the impact on people and nature. Our solutions dampen railway-related vibrations and noise while also protecting the railway superstructure. This is a huge benefit for the local residents and the nature reserve in particular, but also for the operators,” emphasises Juergen Rainalter, CEO of Getzner Werkstoffe.
“Mexico benefits from this project both economically and ecologically,” explains Juergen Rainalter. In addition to freight transport, around three million people per year should be able to travel to 20 destinations by rail in an environmentally friendly way from mid-2024. As the route partly runs through a sensitive biosphere reserve, being able to access the historic Maya sites by rail is extremely important. With its elastic bearings, the “Tren Maya” railway line will be protected from excessive noise and vibrations for decades. The vibration protection specialist has already been involved in this major project in sensitive nature conservation areas since 2019. “Even right from the planning phase it was clear to us that Getzner is an experienced and highly reliable project partner. The intensive dialogue with the experts from Getzner brings enormous benefits to the project, especially in terms of sustainability,” explains Luis Váldes, General Director of Lumietri de México S.A. de C.V.
Several vibration protection applications from Getzner are being installed on the “Tren Maya” line. One example is in Section 5, the economically important route from Tulum to Cancún that will also serve tourists, where under ballast mats – as the name would suggest – are being laid under the ballast of the railway line. They are designed to reduce the transmission of vibrations into the surrounding environment while simultaneously stabilising the track bed. “Our under ballast mats dampen railway-related vibrations and structure-borne noise, which is a great advantage for local residents and the nature reserve,” explains Thomas Gamsjaeger, head of the rail division at Getzner.
Getzner is installing special padded sleepers made of Sylomer, a proprietary polyurethane material, to provide special protection to the track superstructure in areas that are highly susceptible to wear. Under sleeper pads are mainly used to protect the ballast from being abraded too quickly. The elastic layer placed under the sleeper “embeds” the ballast to protect it. “The under sleeper pads have a particularly strong effect in places that are highly susceptible to wear. Vibration protection extends the service life of the rail superstructure and other structures for decades, without losing any of its effectiveness. This also has a positive effect for operators over the long term: the track remains functional for longer, which means track maintenance – as well as the corresponding energy consumption and costs incurred – can be reduced,” says Thomas Gamsjaeger.
Using the efficient and durable under sleeper pads and under ballast mats for “Tren Maya” should increase the service life of the superstructure, minimise the maintenance costs, and thereby bring more sustainability into the overall system. “Calculated over the lifetime of the line, we can achieve a much smaller carbon footprint this way than with conventional railway lines. This has already been proven in a study by Graz University of Technology,” adds Thomas Gamsjaeger. The vibration protection is designed to be maintenance-free and function for decades without losing any of its effectiveness.
The major “Tren Maya” project is an example of the strong global demand for sustainable vibration protection solutions as railway networks are expanded. “There are ever-increasing concerns for safety, sustainability, and noise protection for both passenger transport and freight logistics. This development has given Getzner a strong first half of 2023 with over 80 million euros in turnover. Our business expectations remain optimistic, which is why we are looking for more passionate people to join our teams both at the group headquarters in Buers and at our international locations,” summarises Juergen Rainalter. Current vacancies can be viewed at https://www.getzner.com/en/careers.
The Tren Maya line will run from the city of Palenque in the state of Chiapas in south-eastern Mexico to the tourist resort of Cancún in Quintana Roo via two different routes. The western route leads through the state and city of Campeche and Yucatán to Cancún, while the eastern branch will follow various Mayan sites, cities and beaches. Most of the route already exists and will be upgraded, while around 40 percent will be newly built.