HART to Take On Rail Repairs in Coming Weeks

Written by Kyra Senese, Managing Editor
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Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) Executive Director and CEO Lori Kahikina told the board of directors on Jan. 20 that the delay in trial runs of the Hitachi Rail trains will end only when a "communications software issue" is resolved.

In the weeks ahead, HART aims to finish repairs to cracks in several rail support columns, fix a wheels-to-rail equipment mix-up, and resume delayed safety tests to train cars that will run along the rail line, according to a report by The Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Hitachi hopes to have those issues resolved this month so that train testing on the initial stretch from East Kapolei to Aloha Stadium can resume, HART staff said. 

“We’re about 70% to 75% done with 144 [test] scenarios that need to be done, ” Kahikina told The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. “The holdup was the communications … [but] we’re going to start the remaining scenarios on Tuesday, and hopefully we will get those remaining scenarios done.”

The next step for the train cars would be a system demonstration, Kahikina said. 

“Hitachi is hoping to get that done in 30 days; we think it’s more like 45 to 60 days,” Kahikina told the Star-Advertiser. “So hopefully, that trial running can be done by the end of April.”

Kahikina also provided an update to the HART board on repairs to hairline cracks in T-shaped supports built atop rail columns to bolster future stations along the line. Cracks were discovered in the concrete forms of 21 hammerhead supports in late 2018, according to the Star-Advertiser.

“In June of 2022 the cracks were observed to have grown in length and width, ” Kahikina said. “Everyone went up to do measurements. We are having continued weekly meetings to come up with a strategy on how to address it.”

Currently, structural flaws on all 21 hammerheads are being repaired with epoxy coatings to keep moisture out and prevent further cracking, according to Kahikina. Kahikina went on to say that more construction materials, including rebar, have been ordered to finish the job.

Meanwhile, Kahikina stated that an issue with train car wheel rims that were discovered to be too narrow and did not fit the rail they were supposed to run on has been resolved in the short term. HART received proposals from welding contractors in December of 2021.

“We awarded that contract in January [of 2022], and the work has been done,” she told the Star-Advertiser. “They’ve done analysis, they’ve done measurements and there’s no deterioration of the welds.”

Kahikina added that the long-term fix will be to fully replace all of the wheels on the system’s trains. That work is set to be completed by Hitachi. 

“The weld is just temporary, ” Kahikina said, noting that the first set of wheels has arrived. “They have been installed, and Hitachi is doing an analysis to make sure it is working well.”

The rail line’s first segment of its 19-station route is expected to open in mid-2023, according to HART.