One of the city's four-car rail trains reached 40 miles per hour in a speed test Wednesday. And officials are optimistic that it will be able to soon reach its top speed.
The train made it down the track on its own power.
Rail officials and contractor Honolulu were pleased, and said the train has been hitting its target speeds over several days of testing.
"We started last Monday, ten days ago, at three miles per hour. And today we were able to reach 40 miles per hour," said Enrico Fontana, Anseldo Honolulu's managing director. "That is the maximum speed that we set for this first stage of testing."
The tests have been conducted on a section of the track that has been energized between the West Loch station and the Waipahu operations center. The tests have been coordinated so that they don't interfere with other work on the $10 billion project.
After the speed test, the cars were towed back on non-energized rails to the operations center to prepare for the next phase of testing.
"The train will be stopped in the workshop for a few days for the next stage, and then we still start aiming to reach shortly 55 miles per hour, the cruise speed, the top speed of the train," said Fontana.
And if it can reach that speed, HART believes it will be able to deliver on one promise.
"Once the system is in operation, passengers will be able to move from east Kapolei to Ala Moana Center in less than 45 minutes, running at 55 miles per hour," said Fontana.
The trains are designed to be fully automated, but the tests are being done with an operator aboard. The automated tests won't happen for another two years.