Categories: Tourism Hawaii

Hawaii Tourist Railroads

Hawaii Tourist Railroads – There are two heritage railways in Kauai, the birthplace of Hawaiian railroading. it had been added to the National Register of Historic Places on Robert E Lee’s Birthday, 1979.
The Grove Farm Sugar Plantation Museum preserved original steam locomotives from the earliest days of rail transport in Kauai, restoring the small-gauge engines without much notice beyond the area’s people. The museum acquired the property where historic right-of-ways had run, and found, within the thick vegetation, track beds ready for restoration, allowing the Museum to display their authentic, working locomotives.


Hawaii Tourist Railroads

The second heritage railway in Kauai is that the Kauai Plantation Railway at Kilohana. Unlike the Grove Farm Museum trains, which are brought out just one occasion a month, the Kauai Plantation Railway may be a daily fee-based attraction.

Context of Kauai’s railroading origins
Sugarcane plantations in Hawaii led to the introduction of railways to Hawaii. Rail transport in Hawaii began within the late 19th century when small-gauge locomotives were brought in to exchange oxen or horses to haul harvested sugarcane from the fields to mills, then to move the raw sugar to docks for shipment to refineries in California.
Hawaii’s first commercial sugar plantation was created in Koloa, Kauai in 1835, and sugar rapidly grew to dominate Kauai’s economy—and the economy of the Hawaiian archipelago—through the 19th and 20th centuries;[8] railways were but one among several innovations introduced to Kauai to extend efficiency and maximize available resources during the 19th century. for instance, steam plows were employed around the middle of the century, and abundant electricity was generated from mountain streams both to power mills and illuminate the fields for 24-hour shifts as early as 1885. Kauai’s early leadership in rail transport in Hawaii is according to this tradition of innovation.

Hawaii’s first railways – Hawaii Tourist Railroads

Railways were under construction in both Kauai and on Hawaiʻi island at about an equivalent time in 1881.

Kauai’s first railway
In Kauai, the Kilauea Sugar Plantation purchased a locomotive from Germany and created 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) railroad track tracks through the sugarcane fields. the primary spike during this track was driven by Princess Liliʻuokalani, then Regent, and shortly to assume the throne as the last Queen of the dominion of Hawaii. She had arrived the day before, disembarking at Hanalei, a close-by port, and was invited to the September 24 ceremonial opening at the location of what’s now the town of Kilauea. The assembled dignitaries included Governor Paul P. Kanoe and therefore the Plantation Manager, Robert A. Macfie, Jr. this is often credited as Hawaii’s first railway.

While field railways ran on “literally little quite panels of snap-track laid and re-laid across the fields because the seasonal cutting progressed,” more permanent right-of-ways were soon established to supply freight and passenger service from mills to ports, where raw sugar was packed aboard ocean-going ships bound for California refineries. An engineer, sent to Kauai from Honolulu in 1898, took the train from Waimea, on the coast, to the Kilauea Plantation’s Kekaha mill, situated within the midst of the cane fields, and he described the trip:

The railroad may be an acute affair, only 30-inch gauge—cars mostly flat for hauling cane and sugar in bags….All cars are not quite 4 feet wide….Engines… are regular toys—they weigh about eight tons….[We] taken aback the four miles of toy railroad to the headquarters of the Plantation….They have engineers only—no fireman—no breakman. No breaks on cars.

The first railway on the large Island – Hawaii Tourist Railroads
On Hawaiʻi island (known because the Big Island), a bigger railway was also under construction, with the primary tracks being laid in March 1881 in Māhukona, North Kohala; its official charter of Incorporation under the name of The Hawaiian Railroad Company was granted in July 1880. The Hawaiian Gazette reported that twelve miles (19 km) of track had been laid in September 1881, but its unofficial opening was in March 1882. The NY Times, however, reported that the primary steam railway was to be built on the large Island in 1899, which can be a misunderstanding that supported the financial reorganization of the prevailing railways.

Initial railways in Oahu and Maui
The Hawaiian Gazette, within the same 1882 issue that mentions the initial freight hauling by steam on the large Island, also states that on Maui, the “Kahului railroad has met all the wants for transporting freight.”

Although one source claims that Oahu didn’t enter the railway age until 1889, it appears that Oahu had a field railway using the engine Olomana in 1883.

Grove Farm Plantation – Hawaii Tourist Railroads
Grove Farm Company Locomotives
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Heritage railways in Kauai are found in HawaiiHeritage railways in Kauai
Location Hawaii Route 50, Puhi, Hawaii
Coordinates 21°58′6″N 159°23′50″WCoordinates: 21°58′6″N 159°23′50″W
Built 1887
Architect Hohenzollern Locomotive Works; Baldwin Locomotive Works
NRHP reference No. 79000761
Added to NRHP January 19, 1979
The preservation of steam locomotives on Kauai is essentially thanks to the Grove Farm Sugar Plantation Museum, led by Mabel and Elsie Wilcox, nieces of George Norton Wilcox, who bought Grove Farm Plantation in 1864.

The sisters fought to preserve the trains when the Koloa Plantation was appropriated by Grove Farm Plantation in 1947 and later when the trains were taken out of service within the late 1950s. About 1970, the trains were almost sold to the Disney Company for $500 each, when Mabel Wilcox matched the worth and kept the locomotives in Kauai. When Mabel Wilcox turned the Plantation she had inherited into the Grove Farm Museum within the 1970s, the four 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge locomotives got to the museum. When she died in 1978, her estate included an endowment for the operations of the Museum, including the locomotives.[20] they’re currently listed within the National Register of Historic Places as Grove Farm Company Locomotives. the gathering includes four locomotives, all of which saw extensive service on Kauai.

Pride of place within the Grove Farm Museum locomotive collection is one among the earliest steam locomotives in Kauai, an 1887 Hohenzollern external-combustion engine inbuilt Düsseldorf, Germany for the Koloa Plantation for $4,000, which arrived in 1888. This engine is additionally notable because it’s today the oldest locomotive within the state of Hawaii currently being run on rails; it pre-dates all steam locomotives within the State, in any condition, apart from two: one maybe a 2 ft (610 mm) gauge Baldwin Locomotive from 1883 that’s said to be buried during a dune in Puunene, on the island of Maui; the opposite is that the Claus Spreckels, dating from 1882, originally a coal-fired engine later converted to grease, which is in storage in Maui in operational condition.

On just one occasionit had been thought the primary locomotive on Kauai was this 1887 engine. it’s a wood-fired side-tank locomotive weighing some 10 tons and features a 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge. This engine is known as Paulo, a tribute to Paul Isenberg, a wealthy sugar planter within the 1880s. Paul Isenberg spent a few years in Kauai, arriving in 1858 and by 1862, at age 25, was manager of the Lihue Plantation, the second oldest plantation after Koloa. He greatly expanded the plantation and also was a partner within the Koloa sugar mill and therefore the Kekaha sugar mill. He returned to his native Germany in 1878, leaving his brother Carl to assume his responsibilities at Lihue Plantation. Paul remained active within the business, however, and arranged for the immigration of 124 people from Germany to Kauai. The Paulo engine was shipped from Germany in 1887 to Koloa Plantation. Carl Isenberg started the Lihue Plantation Railway in 1891.

The Paulo engine remained in active service hauling cane until 1920 when it had been retired and placed on display by the Koloa Sugar Plantation. Grove Farm Plantation bought the Koloa Sugar Plantation in 1947, and Paulo became the property of Grove Farm. Paulo was restored to full operating condition in 1981 after years of preservation work by the Grove Farm Museum and a team of volunteers led by Scott Johnson, who maintains the Grove Farm collection. Johnson grew abreast of Maui and has worked on almost every external-combustion engine within the state. The Grove Farm Museum locomotives are displayed at the Lihue Plantation Sugar Mill site and run on a revived section of the Lihue Plantation Railroad once a month[21] and on special occasions like Ohana Day (‘ohana’ translates as ‘family’) in 2010 with the opening of the Kauai Museum exhibition, ‘The technological revolution on Kaua‘i: Steam Power and Other Innovations’. additionally, the museum reconstructed a flat car and a crane car and has two replicas with benches for passengers.

The Wainiha, a 1915 locomotive from the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, was originally owned by the McBryde Plantation and was sold to the Lihue Plantation in 1932. The McBride Plantation introduced two electric locomotives to its operations before 1899 when it added two steam engines. Grove Farm Company acquired the Wainiha, named for a stream and valley on Kauai’s north shore, in 1957, and it had been the last locomotive in commission for the sugar industry in Hawaii. it’s operational, having been restored in 1975. In 2000, the Wainiha was utilized in filming a war II drama, to finish All Wars, to portray a Japanese train transporting British prisoners of war. The Paulo engine also was within the film.

The Wahiawa, also from Baldwin, was designed primarily to tug train in 1921 for the Kauai Railway Company. Its name was originally Port Allen, after the harbor on the western shore of Kauai and therefore the terminus of that line. The engine skilled the hands of the McBryde Sugar Company in 1938 when it acquired its present name, after a stream in west Kauai, and in 1947 was sold to Grove Farm Company. Restoration of this engine is ongoing as funds allow.

The Kaipu, a 1925 engine, also from Baldwin, was one among the last locomotives built for the Hawaiian sugarcane industry. Originally named the Kokee by its first owner, the Hawaiian Sugar Company, it had been renamed for one among the plantation’s lunas, or foremen, in 1941 when acquired by Grove Farm. This unusual engine features a steel cab, with driving wheels smaller than the opposite Kauai Baldwins, and external counterweights with main rods connected to the rear drivers. it had been retired in 1953, restored in 1983, and is operational.

Historic Right-of-Ways
In 2004, Grove Farm Museum locomotives began rolling on a brief stretch of historic, 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge Lihue Plantation Railroad right-of-way from the Lihue sugar mill to Grove Farm Plantation, along Haleko Road, near the middle of recent Lihue. Haleko Road was originally referred to as Halekoa, or “house of cane” Road.

This right-of-way was unknown when the Grove Farm Museum purchased 7 acres (28,000 m2) from Lihue Plantation Company and another 15 acres (61,000 m2) from William Hyde Rice Ltd. to supply a buffer from development within the area. Only later did the Grove Farm Museum officials discover that the right-of-way for the Lihue Plantation skilled the newly purchased plot, and restored the disused trackbed.

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Hawaii Tourist Railroads- Kauai Plantation Railway (

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Kauai Plantation Railway
The Kauai Plantation Railway opened for business in January 2007 as “the first new railroad to be inbuilt Hawaii in 100 years.” Indirectly, both the Grove Farm and Kauai Plantation heritage railways share a common ancestry. Kauai Plantation Railway offers a tour of Kilohana, the previous estate of Gaylord Parke Wilcox (1881–1970), manager of Grove Farm Plantation. His sister, Mabel Wilcox, heir to much of the Wilcox fortune, created Grove Farm Museum from her former family homestead nearby. They were grandchildren of missionary Abner Wilcox (1808–1869), with the fortune grown by their uncles George Norton Wilcox (1839–1933) and Albert Spencer Wilcox (1844–1919).
Vintage elements during a modern reconstruction.
The Kauai Plantation Railway follows a 3-mile (4.8 km) loop through agricultural displays on the historic Kilohana estate and plantation. The Kauai Plantation Railway was designed by Boone Morrison, a historic restoration architect. Its wheeled vehicle is new, but carefully modeled after passenger cars of 1880s trains that operated on the large Island of Hawaii. The railway has both enclosed coaches and a teacher with open sides. The coaches sit on six 35-foot (11 m) flatcars originally inbuilt 1941 at Pearl Harbor by the U.S. Navy, which was then employed by the Oahu Railway and Land Company and afterward sold to White Pass and Yukon Route in Alaska.

The original plan for the railway involved steam engines to tug the coaches, with diesel engines in reserve. The railway opened under the facility of a 1948 diesel-electric end-cab two-axle General locomotive, however, with a 1939 two-axle Whitcomb diesel-mechanical locomotive providing backup. Steam locomotives are scheduled to require over from the diesel engines when the renovation of a pair of Baldwin outside-frame 0-6-2 tank engines is complete. These steam engines had originally worked at the Honolulu Plantation Company on Oahu before war II. They were purchased for the Kauai Plantation Railway from a corporation within the Philippines where that they had been in commission until 2001.

The trains run on rails salvaged from a Soo Line Railroad branch in North Dakota. Most of its 31,680 spikes were driven by hand with 11-pound mauls. The Kauai Plantation Railway is 3 ft (914 mm) gauge, which has no historical precedent in Kauai; most of the previous railways were smaller 2 ft 6 in (762 mm) gauge. The route passes a 16,000-square-foot (1,500 m2) estate home inbuilt 1935 for Gaylord Wilcox. in additional recent times, the 105-acre (42 ha) Kilohana Plantation,[5] has been dedicated to preserving the island’s plantation-era heritage and interpreting it for both locals and tourists. The Kauai Plantation Railway is an outgrowth of this activity, including horse-drawn carriage rides on the estate. The train passes plots leased by farmers who grow a good sort of crops, from the culturally important taro to pineapple, papaya, rambutan, tropical hardwood trees, tobacco, and occasional, a newer crop in Kauai. the thought is to point out the longer term of Kauai’s agricultural industry in its rich historic and cultural context. it’s located at 21°58′15″N 159°23′29″W, just off Route 50.

Oahu Railway and Land Company – Hawaii Tourist Railroads
Yellow Engine (4598159652).jpg
OR&L No. 6, the Oahu Railway’s first locomotive, at the Hawaiian Railway Society
Headquarters Honolulu, Hawaii
Dates of operation 1889–1971
Track gauge 3 ft (914 mm)
The Oahu Railway and Land Company, or OR&L, was a 3 ft (914 mm) railroad track carrier railway that served much of the Hawaiian island of Oahu and was the most important railroad track class one carrier within the U.S until its dissolution in 1947.

The OR&L was founded by Benjamin Dillingham, a self-made businessman who arrived in Honolulu as a sailor in 1865. After falling from his horse and breaking his leg while riding within the countryside, Dillingham was forced to remain in Hawaii and recuperate. He decided to form the island kingdom his home. Dillingham had an excellent deal of business acumen and shortly became quite wealthy and influential within the early Honolulu community.

Among his development ideas, he conceived within the 1870s of the arid ʻEwa Plain as a superb location for human settlement. However, there have been two problems: a scarcity of water and, more significantly, a scarcity of transportation. a visit from Honolulu to the ʻEwa by horse-drawn wagon was an all-day affair. The key was to create a railroad.

Around the time Dillingham was dreaming of his railroad, another businessman, James Campbell successfully dug ʻEwa’s first well in 1879, effectively solving the water problem. Campbell, who had purchased 40,000 acres (16,200 ha) of ʻEwa land thought he might start a ranch but quickly realized that ʻEwa’s rich volcanic soil (which overlays a huge ancient coral reef) combined with year-round sunshine and a supply of water was ideal for growing sugarcane. Within a few years, sugarcane plantations were sprouting up during this southwestern part of Oahu. the necessity for transportation between the harbor and ʻEwa was becoming essential.

The early phase of OR&L
While Dillingham’s dream of large-scale settlement on the ʻEwa Plain would need to wait until the last decades of the 20 th century, his plan for a railroad to the world came together quickly. He leased Campbell’s ʻEwa and Kahuku land to start out two sugarcane plantations and obtained a government railroad charter from King David Kalākaua on 9/11, 1888. After securing the capital, Dillingham broke ground in March 1889 with a goal of connecting the 12 miles (19 km) between Honolulu and ʻAiea (as demanded within the charter) by fall 1889. On November 16, 1889, the king’s birthday, the OR&L officially opened, giving free rides to quite 4,000 curious people.

By 1892 the road was 18.5 miles (29.8 km) long, reaching ʻEwa sugar mill, home of Dillingham’s ʻEwa Plantation Company property. Although progress stalled during the chaos of the late Kingdom and early Republican periods, by 1895 the railroad had skilled what would become the junction of Waipahu, traversed the ʻEwa plain, and was skirting the Waiʻanae coast to a sugar mill there. After issuing gold bonds in January 1897 the corporate extended the railroad around Oahu’s rugged Kaʻena Point to Haleiwa on the north shore by June 1897, where Dillingham built a hotel.

By December 1898 the most line was complete, stretching past Waimea Bay and Sunset Beach all the thanks to Kahuku and therefore the Kahuku sugar mill past the island’s northernmost tip. Although a circle-island line was proposed, it had been never seriously considered. In 1906 an 11-mile (18 km) spur track was constructed from Waipahu up the Waikakalua Gulch to Wahiawa and therefore the pineapple fields of central Oahu. The railroad had taken its final shape.


OR&L passenger car coach #2, a first-class coach sitting at the Hawaiian Railway Society (

OR&L to world war II
The OR&L wasn’t only a sugarcane railroad. While it served several sugar mills and plantations, it also hauled end products, equipment, and workers. The sugarcane plantations sometimes had their own lines. As a standard carrier, the OR&L carried freight, passengers, mail, and parcels. as an example, besides sugar and pineapples, the railroad hauled garbage from Honolulu to a dump on the Waiʻanae Coast, sand from Waiʻanae to Honolulu during the event of Waikiki, and served the main military bases: Pearl Harbor, Hickam Field, Barber’s Point Naval air base, Schofield Barracks, and Wheeler Army Airfield.

In 1926, Dillingham built a replacement passenger terminal designed by Bertram Goodhue, one among the foremost famous architects within the country, who had also designed the Honolulu Museum of Art and therefore the C. Brewer Building during a Spanish Mission Revival style that matched that of the many other public buildings erected during that era. The OR&L railway station was converted to a Honolulu mass rapid transit bus depot after 1947 (later discontinued) and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

The railroad was profitable, even during the good Depression, and was a big mode of communication and transportation until the 1930s. like railroads within the mainland, private automobiles and public roads led to a decline in traffic, especially passengers. Leading up to war II the OR&L had abandoned its passenger operations, which specialize in its profitable freight operations.

OR&L and world war II
World War II was arguably the OR&L’s most vital period but would convince be the company’s undoing. After the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the OR&L became a serious player in wartime transportation. The railroad administered its regular freight operations also handling massive amounts of military-related traffic.

The OR&L became the chief transporter of civilian base workers, sailors, soldiers, airmen, and marines, both from Honolulu to their bases or from those bases back to Honolulu for coveted R&R. In 1944 and 1945 the OR&L carried nearly two million riders.


Hawaii Tourist Railroads

OR&L Mikado #70 stops at Waipahu station for a refill of water. The four mikados on the OR&L were near-identical cousins to the D&RGW K-28 locomotives, albeit oil-burning, slightly shorter tender, different compressor location, and different headlamp.
Oahu Railway and Land Company
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
OahuRailway&LandCo-switch track-signal.JPG
A portion of the track is preserved
Oahu Railway and Land Company is found in HawaiiOahu Railway and Land Company
Nearest city Nanakuli, Hawaii
Coordinates 21°21′14″N 158°1′40″WCoordinates: 21°21′14″N 158°1′40″W
Area 63 acres (25 ha)
Built 1889
Architectural style 3 ft (914 mm) railroad track
NRHP reference No. 75000621
Added to NRHP December 1, 1975

Postwar finale
By the top of the war most of the wheeled vehicles, right-of-way, and facilities were wiped out. The company’s executives pondered whether or to not continue operations. With the top of hostilities, wartime traffic dried up. Moreover, Oahu’s road network had been upgraded significantly, and thus for the primary time, there was serious road competition.

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The company plugged along for the rest of 1945 and into 1946 transporting servicemen. Nevertheless, passenger traffic and gross revenues dropped quite one-half. The railroad’s fate was sealed by the 1946 Aleutian Islands earthquake and therefore the resulting 55-foot (17 m) tsunami that struck on April 1, 1946.

Overlooked by most historians is that the incontrovertible fact that from September 1, 1946, through November 18, 1946, 22,000 sugar workers at 33 of Hawaii’s 34 sugarcane plantations went on strike. Only the Gay & Robinson Plantation on Kauai remained operational because it was non-union privately owned. The strike had a serious impact on Hawaii, and OR&L’s freight dropped to record lows.

Although the OR&L rebuilt the tracks destroyed by the tsunami and continued operations during the strike, the choice was made to pack up the whole operation at the top of that year. On New Year’s Eve, 1947, a final excursion carrying company President Walter F. Dillingham (Benjamin Dillingham’s son), alongside numerous guests, departed from Kahuku behind American Locomotive Company external-combustion engine number 70 through 71.4 miles (114.9 km) of countryside back to the Honolulu station.[6] The OR&L was finished after fifty-eight years. The OR&L replaced its railroad with a truck transport operation.

Most of the system was dismantled within the years following the company’s dissolution, although the double-tracked mainline from Honolulu to ʻAiea remained intact until around 1959. Four of the locomotives, 250 freight cars, and an enormous quantity of track and supplies were sold to an El Salvadoran railroad in 1950. The Hibiscus & Heliconia transportation system Railroad (H&HSL RR) was formed in 1948 by local railfans and modelers. Ben Dillingham gave the first-class coach #47 and an observation car #48, formerly the private parlor car named Pearl.

The Kahuku Plantation Co. allowed the group to use their tracks from near Kawela Bay to Punaluu. The group ran excursions infrequently, renting a locomotive from Kahuku Plantation. In 1950, the last locomotive was retired and therefore the H&HSL RR then used one among two ex-Navy types of diesel. In 1954, the plantation abandoned its railroad in favor of trucks thus ending the H&HSL RR. thanks to a scarcity of cash and enthusiasm the group was unable to get rid of their two coaches from the property, so a plantation official had them torched.

The OR&L’s Honolulu harbor branch renamed the Oahu Railway, was used until New Year’s Eve, 1971 for industrial operations. It served a Kalihi stockyard (until 1961), but chiefly hauled incoming Molokai pineapples from the wharves to the Libby, McNeil, and Libby and California Packing Corporation (Del Monte) canning plants. the ultimate section of the road was appropriated by the United States Navy in 1950.

The Navy, especially during the Korean War and therefore the Vietnam War, ran ammunition trains between the West Loch of the Pearl Harbor Naval Base, through the ʻEwa Plain, to the Lualualei Naval Ammunition Depot on the Waiʻanae coast, preserving one among the foremost famous and scenic stretches of the railroad. The Navy switched to trucks, and therefore the railroad property was abandoned in 1970.

The Oahu Railway & Land Company merged with Hawaiian Dredging to make Dillingham.


Hawaii Tourist Railroads – OR&L equipment preserved at Travel Town Museum (

Historic preservation – Hawaii Tourist Railroads
In that same year, a little group of railroad fans on Oahu learned of the abandonment and petitioned the Navy to show the road and equipment over to them.

This body became the Hawaiian Railway Society (HRS) in 1970. Nicholas Carter, a member of the HRS and one among its founders worked with others within the early 1970s, nominating the previous OR&L to mainline from ʻEwa to Nānākuli to the National Register of Historic Places. On December 1, 1975, U.S. Senator Hiram Fong reported that this had been done.

Today the tracks are owned by the State of Hawaii, while the HRS is that the line’s caretaker. The HRS continues to take care of and extend the right-of-way while running excursion trains from its station in ʻEwa. Currently, trains are scheduled for Saturday afternoons at 3:00 and Sunday afternoons at 1:00 and 3:00, running past the new Second City of Kapolei, through the guts of the Koʻolina golf resort, and up the Waiʻanae Coast, presently only as far as Kahe Point. However, the tracks east of Fort Weaver Road are pulled up, so trains can only operate the road west of that.

In addition to the ex-Army flat cars wont to haul passengers, three cars are at the Hawaiian Railway Society, Coach #2, excursion car #57, and Franklin Dillingham’s private coach, parlor car #64.

OR&L equipment preserved at Travel Town Museum – Hawaii Tourist Railroads
Three cars also sit at Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park, California. Coach #1, combination car #36, and caboose #1, all built circa 1900 at the OR&L shops, were donated to the museum by the OR&L in 1953.

Two diesel locomotives, GE 44-ton switchers numbered 15 and 19, remain in regular use on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.

Steel guitar
It is alleged that the Hawaiian guitar was invented by Joseph Kekuku when he picked up a railroad spike and slid along the strings of his guitar while walking beside the road within the 1880s, perhaps the road of this very railroad.


Hawaii Tourist Railroads

For the historic railroad on Hawaiʻi island, see Hawaiian Railroad.
Hawaiian Railway Society
Hawaii Railway Tour (15730040996).jpg
Ex-United States Navy #302, a forty-five-tonner Whitcomb locomotive, at Kahe Point.
Headquarters Ewa Villages, Hawaii
Locale Honolulu County, Hawaii, USA
Dates of operation 1982–
Track gauge 3 ft (914 mm)

Hawaiian Railway Society – Hawaii Tourist Railroads

The Hawaiian Railway Society maybe a 3 ft (914 mm) railroad track heritage railroad in Ewa, Hawaii, USA, on the island of Oahu. It uses the trackbed of the defunct Oahu Railway and Land Company.

In 1970, Waialua Agricultural Co. said it might scrap its 0-6-2T locomotive No. 6 because rust and deterioration had reduced the engine to an unsightly liability and posed a danger to children who played thereon. John Knaus then contacted Bill Paty, then manager of Waialua Agricultural Company, about saving and restoring the locomotive. John then contacted his boss, Captain Henry Davies, of the Naval Ammunition Depot, Lualualei about having the locomotive moved there since it had the sole locomotive facility left on Oahu. This was followed by a letter to Ed Bernstein of the National Railway Historical Society seeking information on organizing an area chapter. John received approval to possess No. 6 restored at Lualualei. He then talked to Nick Carter, another railfan who had expressed interest in saving the Navy mainline on the leeward coast for an operating railroad.

On August 22, 1970, John Knaus, Nick Carter, Luman Wilcox, and Ken Peale met to debate forming an area chapter of the NRHS. Wilcox was appointed to draw up the temporary by-laws. On August 27 an organizational meeting was held at Cocco’s Restaurant with 15 people attending. Wilcox successfully proposed forming an area chapter of the NRHS. Thirteen of the fifteen people present signed up. Nominated and elected were: Luman Wilcox for pres., Ken Peale for VP, Nick Carter for Secretary-Treasurer, and John Knaus for National Director. On Oct 9, 1970, the membership met to approve the By-Laws, and Charter Night was set for Nov. 13th at Bishop Museum.

On February 17, 1971, a Waialua Agricultural Co. trailer was wont to transport WA Co. 6 to Lualualei. Waialua grade school students gave the old locomotive a send-off before it left Waialua. No. 6 was a magnet that brought a gaggle of talent to Lualualei shortly after. A boilermaker named Dave Griner, a welder named Dick Marshall, and a machinist named Bob Haney were all joined by others who wanted to lend a hand. On October 13 the Hawaii Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society was granted a charter.

On October 13, 1971, The State of Hawaii, Department of Regulatory Agencies granted the Hawaii Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society a charter of incorporation. the utilization of the Hawaii Chapter, NRHS posed a problem: the name was too long and it really didn’t say anything about local railroading. At a membership meeting on December 19, 1973, the members voted to use the name of Hawaiian Railway Society without severing themselves from the NRHS.

On November 25, 1972, a Saturday, a dedication ceremony marked the restoration of No. 6 after 84 Sundays of restoration work, This educational, non-profit organization was ready to get the remaining stretch of track on Oahu, (from Ewa to Nanakuli), placed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. As of early 2009, the Society has restored about 6.5 miles (10.5 km) and is functioning to revive more.


Hawaii Tourist Railroads – The Oahu Railway and Land Company, or OR&L, was a 3 ft narrow gauge (

O. R. & L. Co. No. 6, an 0-4-2T
A usual consist features open-air cars built on ex-US Army flatcars. The Hawaiian Railway also rosters a Parlor/Observation car that’s used for personal excursions. the wheeled vehicle also includes the Merci train boxcar, one among 49 boxcars given to the U.S. by the French railways. One boxcar was sent to every one of the 48 states, while the one within the Hawaiian Railway collection was representative of Washington, DC, also because of the then territory of Hawaii.

Operating locomotives
Four vintage types of diesel are restored to operation, three for excursion trains and one as a switcher. The U.S. Navy on Oahu donated three types of diesel and therefore the U.S. Army donated one locomotive within the 1970s.

Operating types of diesel include:
#423, An ex-USNX Whitcomb 45-Ton switcher.
#302, An ex-USNX Whitcomb 45-Ton switcher.
#174, An ex-USNX Whitcomb 65-Ton switcher.
#7750, An ex-US Army GE 25-Ton switcher.
Steam locomotives
#85, Oahu Railway & Land Company, American Locomotive Company 4-6-0 (Only Remaining Hawaiian Road Engine)
#12, Oahu Railway & Land Company, American Locomotive Company 0-6-0 Slopeback tender engine (Only Remaining Hawaiian Switching engine)
#6, Oahu Railway & Land Company (Kauila), Baldwin Locomotive Works 0-4-2T engine (First locomotive Purchased by the OR&L)
#6, Waialua Agricultural Company, an 0-6-2T engine (Only locomotive inbuilt in the state of Hawaii)
#1, Ewa Plantation Company, Baldwin Locomotive Works 0-4-2T engine
Speeder(Pop car) #233809 [Ex LK&P Fairmont Railway Motors]
Railcar, Inspection (MOW) #62-00249 [Ex U.S. Navy by Kalamazoo Manufacturing CO]
Hand car, ex OR&L [Shefield-Fairbanks-Morse]
Spray car (MOW), ex OR&L [Pacific Chemical & Fertilizer Co. Honolulu]
Other engines
Two 2 ft (610 mm) mining electric locomotives utilized in the Red Hill operations are cosmetically restored, alongside one among their dump cars.

The California Gold Rush Experience: Facts, Miners, Timeline, Towns (1998)

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