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Honolulu begins intensive metro testing

Hitachi Rail has supplied 20 four-car trainsets for for the Honolulu light metro. HART

Trial running on the first section of Honolulu’s light metro began on 29 August. Trains are undertaking test runs on the 16km (ten-mile) section between Kualaka‘i (East Kapolei) and Hālawa (Aloha Stadium) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The testing phase will continue until the system achieves operational readiness prior to transfer to the City’s Department of Transportation Services (DTS) ahead of the launch of passenger service.

“This is a major milestone for the rail project, although the larger milestone will be when trial running is complete. Many tests will be performed and we expect some problems to be encountered, which is normal for a new system and is the reason the testing is being performed,” said HART Executive Director and CEO Lori Kahikina. “We do not have a deadline for the completion of trial running, but we are hopeful of turning the first operating segment over to DTS by early next year.”

Approved in 2007, construction on the 32km (20-mile) automated metro in the south of Oahu began in May 2012. A joint venture of AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS (both of which were acquired by Hitachi Rail in 2015) was awarded the contract to design and build 20 four-car trainsets in November 2011. The first was delivered in 2016. This contract includes the design and build, commissioning, operations and maintenance.

An issue discovered in late 2020 will see all units fitted with replacement wheelsets to address an issue of misalignment of the wheels and rails in five double-crossovers. Matching track modifications were completed in April 2022.

Construction of the second phase (Aloha Stadium – Middle Street) is also near completion; this is expected to be turned over to DTS in early 2025. The section through downtown Honolulu to its temporary terminus at Civic Center is estimated to be ready to welcome passengers in 2031.