HONOLULU mayor, Mr Rick Blangiardi, announced on May 10 that the 17.3km, nine-station first stage of the city’s metro will be officially launched on June 30.

“This is truly a momentous and historic day for the island of Oahu,” Blangiardi says. “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.”

The first section of the metro being built by Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (Hart) runs from Kualaka`i station in East Kapolei to Hālawa station near Aloha Stadium. When services begin, trains will operate with 10 minute headways.

All stations, except Honouliuli - Ho`opili station, and Hālaulani - Leeward Community College station, will have adjacent bus stops and onward transport options. Hart reported that services to stations further east along the metro line are scheduled to commence in phases over the coming years.

Opening of the first section has been delayed many times in recent years as Hart has tackled construction issues and cost concerns on the $US 10bn project.

Trial runs on the first section began in August 2022 and continue to make “positive progress.” The 8.3km of viaduct and trackwork are complete for the second section from Aloha Stadium to the Middle Street-Kalihi Transit Center, and construction work on this section’s four stations is nearly complete. Utilities relocation work for the third section is currently underway along Dillingham Boulevard and through the centre of Honolulu.

Last autumn, the US Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved Harts 2022 Recovery Plan setting out how the entire 32.2km, 21-station metro between Kapolei and Ala Moana Center will be completed within the amount of funding available.

Earlier this month, Hart reported that the 19th of 20 four-car trains for the network had been delivered by manufacturer Hitachi Rail.

“[This] 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,” says Hart executive director and CEO, Mr Lori Kahikina. “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.”

A total of 12 trains have been 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 passengers. Full-width gangways allow for ease of movement between cars. The trains comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements including priority areas for wheelchairs. Surfboard, bicycle and luggage storage areas are provided within each car and there are also areas for pushchairs.

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