• Honolulu's rail project plagued with wheels too thin and tracks too wide

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by bostontrainguy
I can't quite figure out what they are saying here. Are the wheels themselves too narrow or is the gauge too narrow or are the flanges themselves too narrow to negotiate the frogs? Have they considered movable frogs if they are the only problem? This project has been such a disaster and the incompetency overwhelming.

https://www.masstransitmag.com/rail/inf ... s-too-wide
  by west point
This wheel and track problem is confusing.
1. Is the track standard gauge at 4'8-1/2 " or wider ?
2. Is gauge different at turnouts ?
3. If track needs to be narrower gauge then the rail will need new custom tie plates to complete that on one of the 2 rails and special ones for all turnouts.
4. If wheels too narrow why can the wheels moved out to increase the gauge of the cars
5. If #3 & #4 impossible how can wide wheels become too heavy ? 8 wheels per car how much more would one wheel weigh ?
6. Several persons need to go to jail IMO. At least revoke / loose their licenses to practice in the USA permanently ?
  by electricron
Often a simple solution of regrinding the rail heads resolves issues with wheel to rail fit issues. But without the specifics, who knows if that will work. Better to have a slightly heavier train than a future wreck at the frog points, just install the correct wheels.

LA Metro had overweight problems with light rail vehicles from the same manufacturer a decade ago before corporate buyouts changed its' name. You are bound to repeat the mistakes others made if you refuse to learn from history is all I can add.
  by Disney Guy
One alternative for correcting the problem, reconstructing all of the switch frogs, had already been mentioned and the cost was not trivial. By definition, the frog is where the rail running surface is interrupted by the flangeway for the other direction of movement through the switch. So it seems that the analysis and solution would include the width of the flangeway as well as the dimensions of the wheels.

I think they meant by "wheels too narrow" was that the wheel tread (tire) was too narrow.

Incidentally Boston (MBTA) did a lot of rail grinding to accommodate one batch of LRVs. When the cars are finicky about the rail profile it will be necessary to re-reprofile the rails every once in awhile in the future as rail wear occurs.

The Honolulu system is standard gauge.
  by west point
The 800# question is what is the gauge width of the track. Is that number different at switch locations ? Not just too wide but the exact gauge . As well no mention of the wheel gauge. Why have those numbers not been published. Also what is the width of the wheels ? Are they the standard AAR or ATA widths or something different. All these arguments are ignoring basic facts that are not being published ? Those numbers would allow a more informed understanding of the problem.

Has anyone come across those numbers ?
  by Gilbert B Norman
As early as '18 (this linked article is a '19 revision) The Journal was reporting on the "boondoggle" (White or Pink Elephant to our overseas colleagues :-D ) this HART project has become:

Fair Use:
The train through paradise should have been complete by now.

The dream was an elevated rail system to bypass what has been some of the country’s worst traffic, whisking commuters from the farmland and swelling suburbs of West Oahu into the heart of Honolulu. The 20-mile route parallels one of the world’s most glorious tropical shorelines.

More than a decade after inception, having spanned the tenures of three mayors and three governors and outlived its most powerful benefactor in Congress, the project is only half built. Hopes it might transform the crowded island city anytime soon are fading.

Among the cascade of problems: Honolulu pushed ahead before fully planning the project, and nearly 100 contracts had to be reworked, causing delays. The city began construction before fully checking Native Hawaiian burial grounds, and a judge halted the project for over a year. Planners built too close to power lines, so Honolulu must shell out hundreds of millions of dollars to move them.

Dogged by such blunders, the project has seen its price tag soar to more than $9 billion from about $5 billion. The cost overruns are among the largest that transportation experts say they’ve ever seen. The cost has led to an extra excise tax on businesses, which can affect the price of goods and services, and it has hit tourists through an expanded hotel tax.
Somebody is going to be a guest at Hotel Graybar before this is over.

Incidentally, submitting this material at another site during '18 resulted in my being "run off" by whoever actually runs such. Apparently this violated two of their unwritten rules:

1) Submission of material inimical to passenger rail.

2) Submission of material sourced from the Wall Street Journal

Mr. Lordsigma "stuck up for me"; and for which to this day, I thank him.
  by west point
Sarcasm: Just take an 8# sledge hammer and bang on the inside of the wheel until it meets the gauged needed.
Or if you want to get technical. Take a press and move the wheels out on the axel whatever is needed 1/4" each /?
Now if the wheel tread is too narrow from the rim then it is a whole new ball game.
  by urr304
This project has been ongoing for 40+ years, no one anywhere else could do that bad. Still not defined what wrong gauge, wheel tread or actual track gauge or both; these things were settled two centuries ago. See what happens when you try to re-invent the wheel.
  by ConstanceR46
Call me old-fashioned, but i get the distinct feeling if this was built like a conventional elevated railroad a lot of these problems would subside.

Stupid design-by-committee gadgetbahn.
  by ExCon90
We seem to be up against the barrier that the reporter didn't know enough about railroading to ask the right questions (many of which have been raised here) and the person being interviewed had enough sense to know not to volunteer anything and got off easy.
  by Disney Guy
On curves the track gauge should be wider.How much wider depends in part on the curve radius, and there are a variety of complicated formulas.

For a very gentle, say 55 MPH curve the desired increase in gauge might be just 1/16 inch. For trolley type track, for example around street corners the gauge might need to be 1/2 inch wider.

Restraining rails can be used to help keep the wheels centered in the gauge.
  by gprimr1
Transit really can be it's own worst enemy sometimes.

I've been to Honolulu several times, it SCREAMS light rail. The airport is centrally located on the south shore, between two major built up areas that both have populations settled in narrow strips along the coast.

This should be a model showcase for light rail, not another example of government incompetence and transit project money pits.