Honolulu rail warns of ‘instant death’ after rash of break-ins, damage

“As far as I’m concerned, these people are sort of competing for the Darwin prize."
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 5:36 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2022 at 1:33 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After three recent break-ins, Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is issuing a stern warning to potential trespassers.

Now that the rail is going through trial runs, its third rail with a gray covering is high voltage.

“750 volts going through that. They touch that rail, it is instant death,” said Lori Kahikina, HART CEO.

“Trespassers place themselves in extreme mortal danger,” added HART in an email to HNN.

“Gosh, I can’t imagine someone being hurt out there,” said Natalie Iwasa, HART board member.

“As far as I’m concerned, these people are sort of competing for the Darwin prize,” added Anthony Aalto, HART board member.

The three recent incidents happened at HART’s maintenance and storage facility at Leeward Community College.

During an Oct. 9 incident at 3 a.m., two men entered a restricted area of the rail line.

Kahikina said a Sept. 21 incident had extensive damage from graffiti, including an energize third rail and two rail cars.

“The first incident they actually graffitied that third rail. Those trains are so tall,” Kahikina recalled. “I’m sure, if they hadn’t brought a ladder, they are standing on that third rail to graffiti the tops of the train.”

“The whole side of the train was graffitied,” she added.

The third incident happened on Oct. 29.

Last year, four teens wandered along the tracks at the Halawa Station.

HART says the break-ins are a felony and there are federal, state, and Honolulu investigations into the incidents.

The contractor, Hitachi, paid for the graffiti cleanup and is beefing up security while U.S. Homeland Security is looking for security weaknesses.

Some HART board members are worried about liability if someone is killed.

“What I’m worried about is survivors saying my little Johnny electrocuted himself and you guys are at fault because you haven’t done enough to secure your site,” said Aalto.

HART said it’s not sharing images of the vandalism to deter any future copycats.