Wainiha now ready for ‘fire-up’ days

PUHI — Smoke filled the room and wafted outside the Puhi train house, carried by the brisk tradewinds Friday.

Obscured windows of the adjacent trucking company rolled up as the smoke from Wainiha’s firebox drifted outside the train house housing the locomotive which will replace Paulo for the Grove Farm Homesteads Museum’s monthly train day.

Scott Johnson, the Grove Farm Homesteads Museum engineer, said Paulo, a firewood-burning locomotive, needs to have its tubes replaced, a procedure which has a pricetag of about $5,000 and will require Paulo’s move to the Puhi train house for work.

While the work is being done on Paulo, Johnson said Wainiha, a locomotive built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Penn., originally fueled by crude oil, will be doing duty on the 30-inch gauge tracks at the Haleko Road site.

Wainiha, owned by McBryde Plantation, was named for the North Shore stream. The train had the capability of hauling about 50 sugar cars.

The locomotive was sold to Lihu‘e Plantation in 1932 and then to Grove Farm Company in 1947 where it was used until 1957 when Grove Farm last used locomotives to haul cane.

Wainiha is one of three of the four locomotives housed at the Puhi train house which has been restored. While Paulo undergoes its maintenance, it will be on the tracks on “fire-up” days, the second Thursday of each month.

Johnson said Paulo will be in the Koloa Plantation Days parade on Saturday.

Following the parade, Paulo will be returned to the Puhi train house which was built in 1943 to World War II design features, including the use of “black out windows.” Repair work will take place in Puhi and Wainiha will fire-up from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the next train day, Aug. 11.

At the time of the Puhi locomotive shop construction, railroad track from Kekaha to Anahola covered the populated half of the island with armed escorts in the locomotive cab protecting the trains, according to Johnson’s notes on National Train Day.

Reservations for train day as well as contributions to help Paulo’s tube replacements can be made by calling 245-3202.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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