There are so very few books written about trains and locomotives in Hawaii, and the ones that have been written are scarce and are now in the collector’s range of prices. Finding locomotive books specific to Kauai? Nigh impossible.
Fortunately, there have been some lesser-known recent publications which have compiled a great assortment of historical photographs of these engines of change in Hawaii, and one of their volumes focuses directly on the Garden Island!
“Hawaiian Railway Album WWII Photographs: Volume 4 – Plantation Railways on Kauai and the Remaining Islands”, by Gale E. Trieber and Victor Norton, Jr., is just the book to bring this nearly-forgotten subject to light!
From Polihale to Kilauea, we are treated to a wide array of sharp images from the Second World War-era, featuring locomotives from the many sugar plantations that were in operation around the time, such as: Eleele Plantation, Grove Farm, Hanamaulu Sugar, Hawaiian Sugar Co. Makaweli, Kekaha Sugar, Kilauea Sugar, Koloa Sugar, Lihue Plantation, Makee Sugar Co. Kealia, McBryde Sugar, and Waimea Sugar Mill Co.
There has also been some very impressive research done by the authors regarding each of the featured locomotives, including how they came to be used, the paths of the tracks they operated on, even providing rosters of the types of locomotives for each company.
Additionally, we are shown some of the other trains that operated on Molokai and Lanai, including a few newly-discovered operations on Maui and Big Island as well.
For locomotive enthusiasts, this book is a gem. For the folks that worked with these beauties, this is a trip down memory lane. For the rest of us, this is a peek into the fascinating history that is right here on Kauai!
And if you like this, there are even more in their Hawaii series!
Ed and Cynthia Justus are owners of The Bookstore in Hanapepe.