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HART begins trial runs for Honolulu rail from Kapolei to Aloha Stadium

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The Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation announced Tuesday the rail system is undergoing its final series of testing, "Trial Running," before it goes operational.

The rigorous tests cover all aspects of the rail system including the trains, stations, systems and operating personnel, and simulations of normal and emergency operating scenarios.

While there is no set schedule for when the trains will run, HART says multiple trains will be moving between the East Kapolei and Aloha Stadium stations up to 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"This is a major milestone for the rail project, although the larger milestone will be when Trial Running is complete," said Lori Kahikina, HART executive director and CEO. "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."

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Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation
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Hitachi, the City and County of Honolulu, and the state Department of Transportation are also involved with the testing.

After testing is complete, HART anticipates handing over the rail system to the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services for interim service. Kahikina believes that will happen "by early next year."

In the meantime, HART officials are urging residents not to watch or photograph the trains while driving. The agency is also advising residents to avoid the stations and the rail tracks at all times because they are still active construction sites.

HART says the rail system is powered by a "third rail" that runs alongside the tracks and carries over 750 volts of electricity, which is deadly. During the tests, the third rail will be live and energized 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

HART continues to await approval from the Federal Transit Administration of its amended financial recovery plan which outlines a truncated version of the rail line, stopping it about a mile short of Ala Moana Center at Halekauwila and South streets, and postponing construction of a parking garage in Pearl Highlands.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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