These appeared in the rec.travel.latin-america newsgroup:
In article <4l5pjb$19k@NNTP.MsState.Edu> Jack Bartlett writes:
Subject: Train to Oaxaca
Has anyone taken the evening train from Mexico City to Oaxaca? Is this preferable to the bus? Are there sleeping cars available? Is it safe? Thanks.
Yes. It is a very pleasant overnight journey. The Oaxaqueno leaves Mexico City in the evening and arrives in Oaxaca late morning. There are several places in northern & Central Mexico where train travel is a competitive alternative to bus travel. This is one of them with a very scenic route and the music of the train curving through the mountains is quite nice. The sleeper cars service to Oaxaca was discontinued sometime ago and I have not heard report of its being reestablished. The reclining seats are quite comfortable. Ride special class (clase primero especial). If you cannot, then take the bus, as 1st and 2nd class are pretty arduous. Yes it is safe... It is only in the far south that train passengers expose themselves to risk (bandidos).
Michael R. Swigart
In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Re: Mexico City - Oaxaca Trains
Has anyone ridden the train from Mexico City to Oaxaca recently? I'm planning a trip from Mexico City to Oaxaca to Chiapas in Febuary & would like to travel by train part of the time. > Thanks, Dick Stanford email@example.com
Haven't ridden the Oaxaqueño for two years but have taken the trip several times. Train leaves Mexico City (Estación Buena Vista) in the evening and arrives in Oaxaca before midday... travels through marvelous country and the trip is filled with the music of train wheels and the track clicks.
Generally you have to buy your tickets in advance... a day, maybe a few hours...at the station in Mexico City. Travel "clase primero especial," there will be good company in the car... Mostly the Mexican middle class, a few extranjeros. I take my own food and drink although, as the train stops, vendors will board with food and you can sample it. Some of it pretty good, some not. I have made friends with entire Mexican families on vacation by sharing smiles and 'breaking bread' with them. Their food was always better than mine and it is a pleasure to meet whole families full of travel cheer. I suppose some would get annoyed at the noise of a family full of giggling children and doting parents, I always regarded it as refreshing as summer rain. We ended up being invited to many wonderful homes and stay in touch with some of them.
Wake at dawn and stand delightedly between the cars looking from the top hatch as Mexico's richness of countryside opens in the light. It is so vastly beautiful. I'd like to be there now.
Have a good trip,