Published on June 23rd, 2014 | by Christopher DeMorro
Video: This Hybrid Traveled Mexico’s Abandoned Railways
After the privatization of Mexico’s railways in 1995, some 5,000 miles of track were abandoned, leaving many communities figuratively and literally isolated from the rest of the world. Two artists from Guadalajara built a custom hybrid capable of driving on both railways and roadways, and for more than a year explored thousands of miles of abandoned railways and forgotten towns.
Ivan Puig and Andrés Padilla Domene wanted to see what had become of this forgotten world, which was created after promises of prosperity and progress failed to materialize, and passenger service through much of Mexico was discontinued. Through 2010 and 2011 the two travelled the country, documenting their experiences in a blog before gaining an exhibition in London this month to share their story.
What they found was that the railways weren’t abandoned because they were no longer functional, but rather no longer profitable. So communities that were built up and came to depend on the railways were left to survive on their own, if at all, This gave the two explorers plenty of chance to check out modern day ruins, the results of political machinations rather than any flaw.
As for the SEFT-1, their hybrid vehicle, it looks like something built to crawl through the ruins of the post-apocalyptic world. I guess in a sense, that’s exactly what it did.