Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Ops Plan Includes Response to Power Outages

Power outages. We seem to have more than our share, and when they affect the entire island, questions are asked – including some about how the Honolulu rail system will be affected by a future major outage.

Substations to service the system will be located along the length of the train’s route, and each substation will be fed by redundant circuits. A localized outage isn't likely to interrupt service to the system.

A major outage such as the one on December 26-27 that blacks out the entire island naturally will stop the trains, but the lights on the train will remain lit thanks to emergency power supplies located at the stations that will feed electricity to the trains.

Safety First

Communications will be possible with passengers on the cars, and in a prolonged outage, passengers will be directed to evacuate and walk on the guideway’s lighted path to the nearest rail station. Since the stations will be a mile or less apart, the walk at most would be half a mile, but likely less. The emergency power supply also would electrify the stations, including elevators for passengers in wheelchairs.

The project’s engineering and design teams meet regularly with police, fire and emergency services personnel and are developing procedures to deal with power outages. Like everybody else on the island, they’re learning to plan for them.

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