The McBryde Sugar Company Railroad

McBryde Sugar Co. Ltd., in operation on Kauai from 1899 to 1996, with its lands initially extending eastward from Eleele for eight miles along the southern coast of Kauai to Kukuiula, began building its railroad system at the outset of its organization on May 25, 1899.

Its railroad system would haul harvested sugarcane from McBryde cane fields to the mill at Numila for processing and would also transport bagged, milled sugar from the mill to Eleele Landing (renamed Port Allen in 1909) for loading onto outgoing steamers.

By the end of 1899, 7 miles of the plantation’s main 30-inch railroad line had been built between Eleele Landing, past the McBryde mill site, to just beyond Kukuiula Bay.

A rail spur was also constructed from the main track to the edge of Hanapepe Valley, so that coal could be dropped for use by pumping stations located within the valley.

McBryde’s first locomotive was Baldwin Locomotive Works BLW 16330, and by 1903, the plantation had added BLW 17679 “Kaulu” and BLW 22445 “Lawai” to its locomotive roster.

In 1904, another spur was built to connect the main track with the coral sand beach located between Kukuiula and Koloa Landing, where sand for fertilizer and other purposes could be loaded and transported as required.

Year 1905 saw the main railroad line of permanent track being extended from Kukuiula into Koloa town, and another spur was constructed from the main line south of Kalaheo to cane fields situated on the slopes Kukuiolono.

Work continued on improving McBryde’s rail system, so that by 1931, it had grown to a total of 25 miles of permanent track, 6 miles of portable track, 500 cane cars and four BLW locomotives.

At the railroad’s peak in 1945, “Kaulu,” “Lawai,” “Wainiha,” “Wahiawa” and “Hanapepe” made up its railroad engine roster.

1946 was the last year that sugarcane was hauled to the McBryde mill by railroad; in 1947, the entire year’s crop was hauled to the mill by truck.

  1. manongindashadow December 25, 2017 8:36 am Reply

    The train should start up again. only different loads (people) to service from the west side to the south side of the island.

  2. Harry Oyama December 26, 2017 2:24 pm Reply

    McBryde should activate this railroad for both tourists and locals alike in similar fashion as Oahu Railway that uses federal and public funding to run its business. Use prison labor to fix those tracks as they need the exercise instead of getting fat watching cable TV and eating better than you and I

  3. Sunrise_blue December 26, 2017 6:12 pm Reply

    So Kaua’i was independent of Oahu, 1899?

  4. Sunrise_blue December 26, 2017 6:15 pm Reply

    There was no map to follow then. By chance or luck. Military was the mainstay. No formal government. 1899.

  5. Sunrise_blue December 26, 2017 6:24 pm Reply

    If you think Liliuokalani was anything. Junk. Who is the leader now? David Ige? Military. USA.

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