Jose Eric Lomeli
Mexico's Transportation system and its topography:
The boom of the railroad in the Porfiriato Era

Mexico's difficult topography has always presented an economic and socio-political issue to the transportation system.  Since colonial times, up to the Porfiriato period (1876-1910), the country lacked the arteries required to mobilize the country side and connect its political and economic entities.

(first maps created in the UCLA SPPSR computing lab, Fall 2001)

In 1876, only limited railroad lines existed; from the port of Veracruz to Mexico City, along with another line leading to the Textile Center of Puebla.

The initial problem lied in the topography and geography of the country itself.  Unlike the United States, Mexico has no navigating rivers or a group of lakes large enough connecting to  either ocean (i.e. Great Lakes).  The occidential and oriental mountain ranges, going from North to South, constitute, up the present, a challenge to terrestrial travel from East to West or viceversa.

The problematic geography can be appreciated in the following layout.  Rivers lack length, width and are mostly shallow.  Furthermore, the abundant middle and high mountains  prevented the infrastructure and the urbanization of some areas (economically).  The following layouts show the railroad lines extention chronologically (during the Porfiriato):




The infrastructural boom of the railroad in Mexico (in a span of 15 years) brought the nation into an all-time-high economic status.  American, French, British and German enterprises filled Mexico's economic markets.  However, the increase efficiency in transportation technology gave rise to the Hacienda systemAs Mexico stabilized politically and began competing in the international economic arena, the social factor was deeply affected.  Inevitably, the Mexican Revolution (of 1910) was around the corner.