• “Skyline” Light Rail = Honolulu

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

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by Jeff Smith
Construction has started: HART begins construction of new rail system's foundation
The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) has given the green light to Kiewit Infrastructure West Co. to begin construction today on the first section of the elevated guideway for the city’s rail transit system.

With all the necessary state and federal approvals in hand to begin the work, Kiewit is scheduled to begin drilling for the concrete foundation shafts and support columns, HART officials said in a prepared statement.
Seems like it won't open until 2019.
  by gprimr1
I think this line has a great chance of being a transit success.

Bad Traffic; High Population Density, Attractions are close together, lots of tourists, expensive gasoline.

Sounds like magic.
  by mtuandrew
gprimr1 wrote:I think this line has a great chance of being a transit success.

Bad Traffic; High Population Density, Attractions are close together, lots of tourists, expensive gasoline.

Sounds like magic.
I hope for the sake of all American transit that it becomes a success, because otherwise it'll be held up as a poster child of waste and the superiority of internal combustion even where fuel is extremely expensive.
  by lpetrich
Honolulu metro track and electrification contracts awarded  - Railway Gazette
The article stated that the system would be completed in stages from 2015 to 2019, so I went to its site: Frequently Asked Questions - Honolulu Rail Transit | Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
When will the train start operating?

The initial section from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium is slated to open in 2015; Kapolei to Middle Street in 2017; and the system is set to be fully operational, from Kapolei to Ala Moana Center, in 2019.
Turning to Interactive Route Map - Honolulu Rail Transit | Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation, the routing is, from west to east,

Kapolei - Aloha Stadium - Middle Street - Ala Moana Center

That page also has some video for each station location, and that video mentioned possible extensions:
East Kapolei - West Kapolei
Ala Moana Center - UH Manoa and Waikiki
  by Disney Guy
Work on the system has been halted because excavation has uncovered bones indicating that sacred burial sites have been uncovered. As of now the only completed work is about a dozen uprights for the elevated portion of the line at the western end.

The criticism was made that the entire route should have been checked for archaeological artifacts prior to the start of any construction.

One of the mayoral candidates, Ben Cayetano, includes in his platform the intent to kill the project completely.

As an aside, a condominium project near the rail route continues despite finding of bones at their site.
  by Jeff Smith
Progressive Railroading
The Honolulu Authority of Rapid Transportation (HART) has received $67.5 million in federal funding for the Honolulu Rail Transit project as part of a $1.55 billion grant agreement between HART and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The $67.5 million is part of $255 million in federal dollars available for the project this fiscal year. To date, the project has $320 million in available funds under the six-year grant agreement that was signed in December 2012, HART officials said in a prepared statement.

The funds announced yesterday will reimburse the agency for design, engineering and other costs related to building the 20-mile elevated rail system.
  by lpetrich
Rail transit project resumes | KHON2
Sept. 11: The Honolulu City Council passed Resolution 13-203 and Resolution 13-208 for restarting construction.

Construction restarts on the rail project after 13 months - Hawaii News - Honolulu Star-Advertiser
City officials joined construction workers for a blessing in the Ewa fields as work restarted on the city's $5.26 billion rail project at dawn this morning.

The project was halted for 13 months after the Hawaii Supreme Court demanded that the city conduct archeological studies throughout the 20-mile Kapolei-Ala Moana route.
Honolulu's Rail Project Resumes Construction After A Rocky Start
Even today, a legal challenge has yet to be decided by a federal appellate court, which leads some critics to believe that resuming construction is premature. Cliff Slater of Honolulutraffic.com, which has sued the city to stop the rail project, told Hawaii News Now: "All they want to do is give the impression that this is a done deal and say to the public shut up and take your medicine and this is going to go forward."
But the Honolulu City Council seems to have decided that it was an acceptable risk, and that it was more productive to build rather than wait for that court to decide.

Honolulu Rail Transit Project - Official Site also has the news.
  by lpetrich
Tracklaying begins on Honolulu metro | International Railway Journal
HONOLULU Authority for Rapid Transportation (Hart) confirmed on December 5 that tracklaying has begun on the 32km Honolulu metro, with initial works focussing on the area around Hoopili station in Ewa.
The article shows where some of this track is going: on some of the elevated part that has already been built.
  by Gilbert B Norman
It appears The Journal enjoys "Editorializing" on the front page (much as Rush and Sean say of The Times) about the boondoggle HART has apparently become.

Fair Use:
HONOLULU—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.
Although I claim to have set foot in all fifty States, my "claim" to done so in Hawaii is very tenuous. It consists of having done a refueling stop at PHNL from 2 to 4AM during '68 enroute home from VVTS. Therefore I rely on others to report more on this project.
  by lpetrich
News from the Honolulu Rail Transit Project - Take a Walk through HART's State-of-the-Art Railcars
The Honolulu Rail Transit Project is abuzz with activity! All 20 miles of the alignment are seeing varying degrees of construction work, from station construction in the west to utility relocation work near the Project's final stop at Ala Moana. Rail construction is forging ahead.
HART has recently accepted its sixth trainset out of the 20 four-car trainsets that it has ordered.

Honolulu Transit | Flickr -- pictures of its progress. HART also released videos of its progress every now and then, like this one: Construction Progress Video - Dec 2018 To get an overall view, go to a map like Route Map

The line's west end is at East Kapolei, and it goes northeastward, then southeastward and southward around Pearl Harbor, that infamously-attacked naval base. It then goes eastward, then southeastward to its east end, at Ala Moana.

From that December 2018 video, the tracks are in place and the stations under construction from East Kapolei to Pearlridge, and at Pearlridge, the station construction is not as far as for the others, with the platforms still being under construction. At Aloha Stadium, all we see of the stations is the beginnings of the platforms. Beyond that, the trackway ends, and what is next is a line of trackway-support columns. It goes through Pearl Harbor and Airport stations, and we find them under construction along the way. The video ends at Lagoon Drive, where construction has recently started.

Some of the stations (1m and 2m in the video) has what looks like posts and wall segments on the train sides of the platforms. I suspected that those are for platform doors, and when I checked on Station Design and Features, I found that that is indeed the case.
  by electricron
Oahu's topology favors rail transit as a means to move large numbers of people around a circular corridor. H1 is squeezed between Pearl Harbor and Mountains - a natural chokepoint - which is why it is so congested.

Whereas automated elevated trains are in use world wide, I''m not so sure Honolulu had a large enough economy and tax base to support one. I'm pretty sure a manned elevated train would have been cheaper to build - but who knows which would be cheaper to maintain over many years? So I can't argue with what they decided to build.

But most transit agencies build lines away from downtown and not towards it - just the opposite of what Honolulu is doing. Why? Because when building lines in segments, sequentially, as everyone builds these things, the first segment is serving the largest destination from the start. As Honolulu has found out, the naysayers (there is always some of them) will state that the first segment is a line to nowhere from nowhere. And they will be right because HART didn't include downtown in the first segment.

HART's initial managers knew this would happen 10-15 years ago when they made the decision to build the first segment in the styx, they knew the local political support was behind them and that Honolulu would find a way to complete the project.

It is unfortunate the project's costs has soared so high. But that is the usually the case when the ultimate managers, in this case the City of Honolulu, are not familiar of what they are doing and managing a huge construction project for the first time. They let the foxes into the chicken coop.

Let's hope HART has learned lessons to date and can now finish this project on the new time line. The citizens of Honolulu deserve as good a transit system they can afford.