Railway Service Returns to Hawaii’s Oahu

Yasuhiro Kobayashi / The Yomiuri Shimbun
The Skyline train is seen on the Hawaiian island of Oahu.

HONOLULU — The railway service is back on the Hawaiian island of Oahu for the first time since the previous system was discontinued about 75 years ago.

The first segment of the Skyline railway opened for passenger service in Honolulu on Friday. The line is expected to relieve traffic congestion, making it easier for tourists to get about the island, according to Hawaiian authorities.

Hitachi Group, which manufactured the cars for the new line, is in charge of managing and operating the system such as the signals.

The entire line is scheduled to open in 2031. The about 30-kilometer line will eventually connect the western part of Oahu to central Honolulu in 39 minutes via 19 stations, including Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Station. The Skyline is the first train service operated by an automated driving system in the United States and runs mainly on elevated tracks.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

On Friday, more than 100 people lined up for the opening of the 17-kilometer segment of the line’s western half, which has nine stations.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi welcomed the Skyline’s inauguration at Friday’s opening ceremony, saying that it marked the beginning of a truly transformative era for Hawaii.

The Honolulu area is known for being one of the most congested areas in the United States. It takes about 20 minutes by car from the city center to the airport, but only 10 minutes by train.

 The Skyline operates from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends. Its maximum speed can reach about 90 kph. Passengers are able to place surfboards and bicycles in provided areas inside the train cars.

— Kobayashi is a correspondent based in New York.