The Locomotives

The Kauai Plantation Railway is the first new railroad to be built on Kauai in nearly 100 years and follows traditional railroad practice. Over 2.5 miles of roadbed has been constructed with more than 6000 wood ties in place, and tens of thousands of pounds of iron rail hand-spiked in place at a traditional three foot gauge.

For the opening, motive power will be provided by a restored 1939 Whitcomb diesel engine – similar to the first internal combustion engines that ran on adjoining Lihue Plantation during the pre-war period.

Two historic Hawaii sugar plantation steam engines have already been purchased and plans are underway for their renovation and future addition as part of the Kauai Plantation Railway. The engines were built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, of Philadelphia, for plantation service on the Island of Oahu. Delivered in 1899 and 1916 respectively. Sold to a sugar plantation in the Philippines in 1947, the engines worked there until 1998 when they were set aside. Recovered in 2004, these two steam locomotives represent some of the very few Hawaii engines to have survived.

The 1899 engine was named “Halawa” and is an 0-6-2 tank engine of 18 tons – her sister engine, named “Manana” was built in 1916 to the exact same design. Both ran on the Honolulu Plantation Co operation near Pearl Harbor until 1947, when they were sold to the Hawaiian-Philippine Sugar Co, of Silay City, Island of Negros, Philippines. To have located a matched pair of Baldwin engines with Hawaii history is a major feat and their future return to service in the Islands will be an important contribution to historic preservation.