The launch date has been set for the first segment of Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit’s (HART) long-awaited light metro service.
Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi on May 10 reported that the 10.8-mile, nine-station first phase of the city and county’s rail transit system will officially launch June 30.
“This is truly a momentous and historic day for the island of Oahu,” said Blangiardi. “Today’s announcement marks the culmination of decades of hard work, perseverance and overcoming difficult challenges of every kind. We are all excited for the public to experience first-hand the transformative effect the rail will have for our island home.”
HART’s first project segment stretches between the Kualaka`i Station in East Kapolei and the Hālawa Station near Aloha Stadium (see map below). When service begins, trains will arrive at stations every 10 minutes. All stations, except Honouliuli – Ho`opili Station, and Hālaulani – Leeward Community College Station, will have bus stops and connectivity. HART reported that service to additional stations further east along the line is scheduled to commence in phases over the coming years.
According to the HART website, trial runs on the first project segment started in August 2022 and continue to make “positive progress.” The 5.2 miles of rail guideway construction and trackwork are complete for the second project segment—from Aloha Stadium to the Middle Street-Kalihi Transit Center—and construction work on the segment’s four stations is nearly complete. Utilities relocation work for the third project segment is currently under way along Dillingham Boulevard and through the Downtown area.
Last fall, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) signed off on HART’s 2022 Recovery Plan documenting how the 20-mile, 21-station rail line in O‘ahu between Kapolei and Ala Moana Center will be completed within the amount of funding available.
Also on May 10, HART reported that Train 2, the 19th of 20 four-car trains from Hitachi Rail, has been delivered (above).
“Train 2 is the next to the last train to arrive in Hawaii, which means that the vehicle portion of the rail system is nearly complete, with the final train expected to arrive within the next year,” HART Executive Director and CEO Lori Kahikina, P.E. said. “After the initial opening of the rail system on June 30, there will be five trains operating during normal service, with additional trains being available as spares or for special needs. When the next segment of the rail system opens to the public in about two years, more trains will be used in daily operations.”
Twelve trains are fully commissioned and are ready to be handed over to the city’s Department of Transportation Services in June, according to HART.
Each four-car train is air conditioned and can accommodate 800 riders. Open gangways allow for ease of travel between cars. The trains are ADA compliant with priority areas for wheelchairs. Surfboard, bike and luggage storage areas are located within each car and there are also areas available for strollers.