This interview originally appeared on Radio New Zealand, and is posted here courtesy of the interviewee, Étienne von Bertrab.

A new $28 billion railway line through ancient Mayan ruins is near to completion.

The 1500 kilometre Tren Maya, servicing tourists and cargo alike, has been more than four years in the making, and is supposed to lift Mexico’s south and south-east communities out of poverty.

But protesters have called it a “megaproject of death” for the precious rainforest land that has been bulldozed to make room for it.

Étienne von Bertrab is a lecturer in development and planning at University College London, and the coordinator of a book on the Tren Maya, and he joins Nights to explain the significance of the landmark development.