HART to begin live train, energized track testing for rail project

Tuesday marks a big step forward for Honolulu’s rail project.

The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation plans to energize the rail for the very first time.

Officials from HART and contractor Ansaldo will be flipping the switch from the train’s power generating facility in Waipahu.

Testing is scheduled to run from around 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Roughly 1,600 Hawaiian Electric customers have been notified of the possibility of power surges during the testing.

“The test sections will be on that side of the project, on the western end of the project, the West Loch area, the Waipahu Transit Center area, in those areas,” said HART spokesman Russell Yamanoha. “It will be completely coned off. No one will be allowed in there, not even contractors, because we just don’t know what the system is going to do yet so again, we’re erring on the side of caution and making sure it’s a safe system. The trains will be running here in the next three to six weeks.”

When the trains start rolling, they will be tested for their acceleration up to 55 mph, and then for their braking ability under varying conditions.

Operators will be on board during that time, but once the system is complete, the trains will be fully automated and driver-less.

Testing dates of note:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 5: Waipahu Traction Power Sub-Station short circuit test
  • Wednesday, Sept. 6: Initial energization of third rail in testing section
  • Late September to early October: Rail cars testing on energized track

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