ALOHA FROM JENNIE: During the 1900 to 1950s, a rail system operated by the Oahu Railway and Land Company was the key method of communication and transportation between the sugar mills and plantations in Hawaii. Their locomotives and rail cars hauled equipment, sugar cane and pineapple, finished products and workers throughout the Ewa plain.
Some of the original steam locomotives are on display in our museums. In addition, a historical society operates a Sunday weekly 90 minute railroad ride which runs from Ewa Beach to Kahe Point on the west side of Oahu. The tour is narrated with historical tidbits and ends with a stop at Kahe Point where one can enjoy the ocean views.
Fast forward to present day: HART (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation) is implementing a modern day elevated rail system which will run from Kapolei (Oahu’s ‘second city’ at West Oahu) to Ala Moana Shopping Center at the heart of Honolulu.
The infrastructure’s 100th column was recently erected in June. The first leg of the system (Kapolei to Aloha Stadium) is scheduled to be completed by 2017, and the entire line is anticipated to be operational by 2019.
The goal is to serve more than 40,000 commuters with trains that run every 5 minutes during rush hour and every 10 minutes during non-peak hours. It’s anticipated that by the year 2030, 70% of Oahu’s population and 80% of its jobs will be linked with the rail system’s 20 mile corridor.
Thus, the hope is to provide easy access from the island’s west side to its three University of Hawaii campuses, our airport, shopping centers, and the downtown financial district. Does your city have a rapid transit system and has it eased traffic congestion?