At a press conference today, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, City Councilmembers Brandon Elefante and Joey Manahan and HART Board member Glenn Noahara announced that, for the first time, Honolulu’s first light metro train was towed between HART’s Rail Operations Center and the future home of the West Loch rail station to see if it would clear all obstacles and structures along the 2 miles of new tracks.
The clearance test went well, all clearances were made and the procedure was finished in just over an hour.
The Honolulu rail system will connect Kapolei to Ala Moana Center via Waipahu and Pearl City with stations at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, Chinatown, Downtown Honolulu and Kakaako. Construction of the project began in 2012 and the first completed 10 miles of the route is expected to open in 2020.
The train car was towed for the test because the electrical grid that will power the trains has not yet been electrified. The purpose of this clearance testing, as the name indicates, is to check whether adequate space exists between the structures and the train. The train gets towed at slow speed enabling engineers to walk alongside the train and see that the as-built structures meet the criteria for revenue operations.
The rail car was towed at walking speed from the new Rail Operations Center, which is located between Waipahu High School and Leeward Community College past the Waipahu Transit Center station location to the West Loch station and back.
Later this year, once the line is electrified, rail trains will begin regular dynamic test runs. The testing and the outcome of the tests will help determine the line’s opening date in late 2020.