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gmat

Light Rail coming to Honolulu

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gmat

I've recently started paying attention to this. Might be of some interest to some.

 

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/114169184.html

 

For earlier articles from the Honolulu Star Advertiser:

 

http://www.staradvertiser.com/about/Star-Advertiser_Search_Results.html?cx=partner-pub-9695435974299667%3Au66wqtuct3j&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=honolulu+rail+system+&sa.x=35&sa.y=6&sa=Go&siteurl=www.staradvertiser.com%2Fnews%2Fbreaking%2F114169184.html

 

I think that it will be over budget, expensive to use, and not reach important areas, but it will be better in the long run than present bus/car system. It should have been done when it was first proposed in the 60s, when the Federal Government had more money to help out.

 

Wiki entry:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honolulu_High-Capacity_Transit_Corridor_Project

 

Best wishes,

Grant

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gmat

There has been a debate about the merits of an elevated versus ground rail system as well as a steel wheel on steel rail versus maglev system.

One article:

 

http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorials/20101227_not_too_late_for_oahu_mag_lev_rail.html

 

Some thoughts if gas goes up to $5.00 a gallon in 2012:

 

http://www.examiner.com/transportation-in-honolulu/5-a-gallon-of-gas

 

Link to the Honolulu Rail Transit Homepage, also showing a map of the proposed line:

 

http://www.honolulutransit.org/

 

From Yes2rail with a sketch of a proposed Pearl Highlands station. (or Pearl City/Highlands)  Also information on OTEC, using ocean temperature differentials to generate electricity to power the rail system.

 

http://yes2rail.blogspot.com/2010/11/pbn-sees-future-with-rail-and-ocean.html

 

Another page from Yes2rail. Sketch of the station next to Leeward Community College:

 

http://yes2rail.blogspot.com/2010/07/design-contract-awarded-for-three-rail.html

 

Excerpts from a FTA study of the Honolulu Rail Transit coming in on budget, from Honolulutraffic. Graphs and numbers, but it seems that it will most likely be under 9.3 Billion, but the effects of the new Republican controlled House is unclear:

Article:

http://www.hawaiireporter.com/ten-percent-chance-honolulu-rail-costs-will-go-over-9-3-billion

 

From FTA report:

http://www.honolulutraffic.com/FTA_cost_probabilities.pdf

 

Map with proposed extensions. Hu Hu is Hawaiian and roughly translates to getting angry or bothered. Ohana is your family and maybe like your friendly neighborhood.

 

http://www.gorailgo.org/benefits-of-mass-transit.html

 

Best wishes,

Grant

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gmat

Earlier overview from LightRailNow, dated Feb.2010:

 

http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_hon_2010-02a.htm

 

From Honolulu Rail Transit, transit station designs:

 

http://www.movingusforward.net/archives/270

 

From the TransportPolitic, dated Jan. 2010. Some interesting information on the benefits of an elevated system versus a cheaper ground based system. Includes information on the population densities of Southern Oahu Island:

 

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2010/01/11/its-governor-lingle-versus-mayor-hannemann-on-honolulu-rail-project/

 

From :Lehighvalleylive.com, on "Have the Bridges to Nowhere Killed Our Will to Think Big?," and why things aren't getting done:

 

http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/today/index.ssf/2010/10/have_the_bridges_to_nowhere_ki.html

 

Best wishes,

Grant

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Mudkip Orange

Oahu always seemed ideal for rail transit, since it's small, population is either sparse or densely packed, and oh yeah IT'S A FREAKING ISLAND so even car ownership doesn't yield the mobility and freedom that it does in the continental US.

 

That said, would someone please explain to me what the benefit is of building a fully grade-separated rail system but only using short, "light rail" sized trains and platforms?

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gmat

I would suspect that it might be that it will be easier to upgrade the trains and extend the platforms in the future, but it would be extremely difficult to fund such a system now. Building light rail sized platforms may face problems in expanding capacity in the future. Another possibility is that they are squeezing every last bit of benefit for the construction industry.

One problem was that when the State was trying to get the mass transit system started in the 70s, the City had a minority Republican Mayor but the State was largely Democratic. As the system would have been run by the City, it would have put power in the hands of the Mayor. By the time that it had changed, the Federal money had largely dried up or was tied into a Republican Administration. Unless it connected with Defense projects, Hawaii has often been the odd man out. At the same time, there was a huge fight between pro and anti H-3 Highway groups. It survived as it also happens to run from Pearl Harbor to the Marine base at Kaneohe Bay, facilitating movement of troops and equipment to the Navy base, which was the genesis of that highway.

Others might have a better information.

Best wishes,

Grant

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brill27mcb

Oahu always seemed ideal for rail transit, since it's small, population is either sparse or densely packed, and oh yeah IT'S A FREAKING ISLAND so even car ownership doesn't yield the mobility and freedom that it does in the continental US.

 

That said, would someone please explain to me what the benefit is of building a fully grade-separated rail system but only using short, "light rail" sized trains and platforms?

 

There are many benefits. First, it's an affordable foot-in-the-door. Second, if you design it to be upgradable in train and platform length, it's a "pre-metro." Third, if you run light rail (or metro), especially on a dedicated line (non-interchange railroad, non-Federal Railroad Administration), with the same staffing costs you can run frequent services with one-man "operators" instead of infrequent heavier trains with an engineer, a conductor, etc. The best service is the kind where you don't need a schedule because it is so frequent. You can also get the service closer into the downtown, even on the streets.

 

There was a hypothetical analysis done here in the Philadelphia area by a consultant friend of mine, applying U.S. federal "new start" requirements to SEPTA's existing regional rail commuter lines. Almost all of them would fail to meet "new start" requirements, based on their actual ridership levels. For the same staff cost, or less, a more attractive "light rail" version of them could provide service every 20 minutes off-peak, versus a single hourly full-size, two-car train with crew of three.

 

Rich K.

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gmat

Editorial from the Honolulu Star Advertiser on the need for community involvement in planning the stations:

 

Rail reality requires public input

http://www.staradvertiser.com/editorials/20110120_Rail_reality_requires_public_input.html

 

 

brill27mcb, do you mean to say that the system adopted by Hawaii with a regular rail system with light rail tracks and platform would be better or that a sole light rail system would be better? Sorry it wasn't clear to me. Appreciate your input.

Best wishes,

Grant

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bikkuri bahn

I think brill meant the latter (exclusively light rail).  First of all, I don't think reviving freight rail on Oahu is a feasible idea, given the size of the island.  Secondly, having a railroad style line, you are subject to all sorts of onerous FRA regulations.  By having exclusively light rail, and extensive elevated portions of track, you are freed from restrictive regulations that would hamper operations as well as acquisistion of efficient and affordable rolling stock, in addition to the improved frequencies (or ability to expand) as brill mentioned.

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gmat

Thanks for the clarification, bikkuribahn. Does that mean that Hawaii is overspending on the transit system?

Best wishes,

Grant

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bikkuri bahn

Thanks for the clarification, bikkuribahn. Does that mean that Hawaii is overspending on the transit system?

Best wishes,

Grant

 

I don't know about overspending, being unfamiliar with this project, but I've read that infrastructure projects in the U.S. tend to be extremely expensive, even more so than in Japan.  Something to do with bidding processes, unions, and contractor behavior.

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gmat

Possibly with the dearth of investment in infrastructure for the past 30 40 years and the recent outflow of jobs, public projects might shoulder a greater share of providing patronage/revenue/wages for politicians, companies and workers. In Hawaii, the Federal/State Government was and probably still is one of the two main pillars of the economy. Sugar/Pineapple is a ghost of its former self.

Not very well versed on the subject either.

Best wishes,

Grant

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Mudkip Orange

Philly is an odd duck because you have all these legacy rail systems that have enough ridership to stave off abandonment, but not enough ridership to justify/amortize the cost of any significant improvement. Some of the SEPTA regional rail lines - Cynwyd, Chestnut Hill East, Chestnut Hill West - couldn't even be justified as a light rail line if you were starting from scratch.

 

Come up with your innovative Philly transit idea - connect the P&W to the Market-Frankford, build the Swampoodle connection, restart your favorite trolley route - and a bit of time spent in Excel can tell you why it doesn't pencil out.

 

Of course the flipside to operating such a static, historical system is that the few improvements that -would- make sense - extending a spur off the P&W or the PRR Main Line to KoP, for instance - will probably never happen either. Same holds true for the roads (prediction: in 2040, the Schuylkill is still two lanes with crap shoulders). It's a dying city, but it has such a storied and glorious history that it'll never be able to take the steps that are necessary to adjust, like Detroit is doing.

 

 

 

 

 

Oahu always seemed ideal for rail transit, since it's small, population is either sparse or densely packed, and oh yeah IT'S A FREAKING ISLAND so even car ownership doesn't yield the mobility and freedom that it does in the continental US.

 

That said, would someone please explain to me what the benefit is of building a fully grade-separated rail system but only using short, "light rail" sized trains and platforms?

 

There are many benefits. First, it's an affordable foot-in-the-door. Second, if you design it to be upgradable in train and platform length, it's a "pre-metro." Third, if you run light rail (or metro), especially on a dedicated line (non-interchange railroad, non-Federal Railroad Administration), with the same staffing costs you can run frequent services with one-man "operators" instead of infrequent heavier trains with an engineer, a conductor, etc. The best service is the kind where you don't need a schedule because it is so frequent. You can also get the service closer into the downtown, even on the streets.

 

There was a hypothetical analysis done here in the Philadelphia area by a consultant friend of mine, applying U.S. federal "new start" requirements to SEPTA's existing regional rail commuter lines. Almost all of them would fail to meet "new start" requirements, based on their actual ridership levels. For the same staff cost, or less, a more attractive "light rail" version of them could provide service every 20 minutes off-peak, versus a single hourly full-size, two-car train with crew of three.

 

Rich K.

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gmat

Some recent news:

 

Council approves permit for city's rail project

Not much interesting here.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/114690019.html

 

 

From TransportPolitic:

Is Elevated Acceptable?

 

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2009/05/19/is-elevated-acceptable/

 

It compares the elevated versus a ground rail system. It also notes that the elevated rail permits automated cars.

 

Best wishes,

Grant

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bikkuri bahn
Readers comments are interesting.

How is it in other areas?

 

The level of commentary is better than the usual- you don't see so much of the knee-jerk "boondoggle" teabaggeresque stuff common on mainland comment threads.  It's sad, but infrastructure projects, especially transit and rail ones, in particular, are so hyper-politicized in the United States.  It seems to me that it is the result of bigger powers behind the scenes battling to keep the status quo, auto-centric suburban model (big oil, numerous conservative groups) versus groups trying to prepare for the peak oil scenario, and giving people choices in transport. Thank God I live in Japan, at least transportation-wise.

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Mudkip Orange

Said the same thing about the H3 when they tried to build that.

 

Dig 'em up.

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