Before we left, we knew one of our stops would be at the Hawaiian Railway Society. This organization runs on nearly seven miles of the original mainline of the Oahu Railway and Land Co. They own almost all remaining rolling stock from this railway including all three of the surviving steam locomotives, 0-4-2T No. 6 'Kauila', 0-6-0 No. 12, and 4-6-0 No. 85.
The OR&L opened in 1889 with a train to 'Aiea pulled by 'Kauila', which was the first locomotive on the OR&L. The Oahu Railway and Land Co. then expanded to the western coast of O'ahu and from there followed the shoreline all the way to Hale'iwa on the North Shore of O'ahu. By 1898, the railway was completed all the way to Kahuku, on the windward side of the island. The OR&L hauled tourists from Honolulu to the North Shore and pineapples and sugar cane from the plantations throughout the island to the mills and canneries on the west side of Pearl Harbor. Throughout the Depression, the OR&L's passenger traffic declined and most of the coaches were re-purposed to haul cans for the canneries. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, these modifications were undone as the need arose to haul soldiers from Honolulu around the island to all of the military installations. After the war, the railroad declined quickly and was shut down in 1947. The tracks around Pearl Harbor though, remained in use until the end of 1971, serving Del Monte under the name Oahu Railway (without the and Land Co.). The Navy also maintained the portion of the line as far as Wai'anae, on the leeward coast of the island, to an ammunition depot. This was operated during both the Korean and Vietnam wars, but afterwards fell into disuse after the Navy switched to trucks. In 1970, the Navy sought to abandon this line, but it was at time that the Hawaiian Railway Society was formed and petitioned to save this line. Their efforts led to the salvation of the line and its addition to the National Register of Historic Places. Ever since, they have been preserving and operating trains from their shop along the line in 'Ewa to Electric Beach Park near Nanakuli.
We stopped in on Saturday (we had plans to stop on Sunday previously, but we'll get to that in the next post) to explore and ride the 3:00pm Ice Cream train. This run includes a stop in Ko'olina at Two Scoops Ice Cream (or for us a visit to Island Vintage Coffee right next door!) on the return from Electric Beach Park. It was a nice ride, it was awesome riding a train right along the ocean in paradise. Our train was pulled by one of HRS's Whitcomb diesel locomotives, and we were pleasantly surprised to see original OR&L parlor car no. 64 on the train. This car was the private car of the DIllingham family who owned the OR&L and is only scheduled to be on the train one day per month... unless it's chartered, which it was the day we went. The nice staff at the Hawaiian Railway Society let us explore and photograph every inch of the property! We even got access into the parlor car after the trip to see it and get photos of it. Of course being railfans, this place was a lot of fun for us to explore and photograph, so we stayed until it was nearly sun down at which point we quickly left for Barber's Point to capture the lighthouse there at sunset. We will talk about that and everything we did that morning on our next post in this series. Until then, enjoy our photos from the Hawaiian Railway Society!