The International Steam Pages

Museo de los Ferrocarriles de Yucatan

Keith Smith reports on a visit in May 2008:

Well, managed to get to Merida in the Yucatan having hired a car for 3 days and visited most of the large Mayan sites such as Chichen Itza, Tulum and Ek Balam.

Managed to find the Museo de los Ferrocarriles de Yucatan in the large city of Merida (1m population and about 200 miles west of Cancun). Only limited opening hours, mainly weekends but managed to gain entry and tag onto a private party. Although I have not got much Spanish I was able to follow the account of the guide and joined a trip round the rail yards propelled by one of the preserved diesels (mostly second hand ex USA). Details of the museum are available on its website at

There are two preserved steam locomotives present - a narrow gauge Baldwin 4-6-0 of 1903 and a Baldwin 4-4-0 of 1912 largely in bits and scattered around but is the next restoration project. The restored diesels and rolling stock have been finished to a high quality so there is every prospect, subject to funds of a good restoration. The contrast with the national rail network is certainly stark with passenger services largely a matter of history and only a few (and expensive) tourist services such as the Copper Canyon and the Mayan Express.

Around Merida are various sisal plantations which had a network of narrow gauge tramways mostly horse drawn. One survives south of Merida as a tourist attraction - reminiscent of the Cuban sugar Centrales - which is worth a visit as it is on the way to the Uxmal archaeological site. Its website is (website dead by 29th October 2017) and daily visits are available.

Rob Dickinson