The metro system in Mexico City, the country’s sprawling capital, handles more than four million riders a day and is the second largest in the Americas, after New York. And when it was inaugurated in 1969, decorated with Aztec artifacts and Mayan-style friezes, it was the pride of a nation.
But in recent years, it has become a symbol of urban decay.
There were concerns about the integrity of the elevated tracks and support columns on the stretch of track where Monday’s crash occurred after a a powerful earthquake hit Mexico in September 2017.
The subway line’s elevated infrastructure – known as Line 12 or the Golden Line – was damaged, El Universal newspaper reported.
Later in the month, some local residents told El Universal that they feared the damaged infrastructure would collapse. The newspaper reported at the time that a column between Olivos and Nopalera stations suffered structural damage. He also reported that engineers had to perform an ultrasonic study of the reinforcing steel in 300 columns along the elevated portion of Row 12.
It was not immediately clear what work had been done to address the safety concerns. But there has been a large decline in the system in recent years.
The Golden Line, where Monday’s crash happened, opened in 2012 and is the newest in the system. Yet from the start he has been plagued by problems.
Trains traveling on elevated sections of the track had to slow down for fear of derailing. And just 17 months after the $ 2 billion line opened, the city suspended service on much of it.
Service was then restored, but concerns about the system as a whole increased.
Last month, one of the capital’s 12 metro lines was closed after a track fire. And in January, a the fire tore the metro headquarters in the city center, killing a policeman and sending 30 others to hospital with smoke inhalation. Six metro lines have been temporarily taken offline.
Opposition parties blamed the lack of maintenance for hell, and the conservative National Action Party filed a criminal complaint against Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum and the Mexico City metro chief.
In March 2020, one person was killed and at least 41 others were injured when two subway trains collided in Mexico. Ms Sheinbaum said at the time that one of the trains apparently backed up into the other. Video of the wreckage showed that the force of the collision left one train stuck on the other, according to Reuters.
The following month, at Misterios station, a railway coupler – a mechanism used to join the wagons – fractured en route to its destination. Although this incident did not result in any fatalities, workers demanded more safety measures, The Universal reported.
Another derailment in 2018 sent shock waves to a suburb of Mexico City. A train carrying goods escaped the tracks and one of its cars crashed into a house, killing five people.
The most recent serious accident occurred in 2015, when a collision between two trains left 12 people dead. In 1975, another train collision at Viaducto station killed 31 people and injured more than 70, according to El Universal.