comscore Last locomotive returns to Oahu | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

Last locomotive returns to Oahu

  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Locomotive No. 85, the last of three existing steam locomotives from the old Oahu Railway & Land Co., returned to Oahu yesterday after 57 years and today will be placed on its former tracks for the first time since 1953, when it was shipped to a California train museum. In the 1990s, the Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad shipped it to Maui to try to get it running for tourists, but instead, No. 85 was taken apart and remained in pieces over the years. Above, Hawaiian Railway Society historian Jeff Livingston, left, and Bobby Kimura of Young Bros. get ready for No. 85 to be trucked home.
  • COURTESY HAWAIIAN RAILWAY SOCIETY
  • DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Locomotive No. 85 was hauled off the barge at Honolulu Harbor yesterday onto the dock. It was then delivered to the Hawaiian Railway Society in Ewa Beach, where it will be restored.
[ AD HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THIS STORY ]

The last of three existing steam locomotives from the old Oahu Railway & Land Co. returned to Oahu yesterday after 57 years and today will be placed on its former tracks.

"This is like the next three or four Christmases have already come," Jeff Livingston, historian for the nonprofit Hawaiian Railway Society, said yesterday as he stood next to locomotive No. 85.

At about 8:30 this morning, a crane will lift No. 85 off a trailer and place it back on its old tracks for the first time since 1953, one month after the locomotive turned 100 years old.

"To have it back on its own rails again literally means it’s back home," Livingston said.

Members of the public — especially people who rode in a railroad car behind Old 85 back in the day — are invited to watch the move and share their memories to help the society continue to document the history of the Oahu Railway & Land Co.

"If you’re in your 70s or older, you probably have been pulled or pushed by No. 85," said Tom McCarthy, the society’s administrator. "Please, tell us a story. And we would especially love to see some photos. That’s how history expands."

In 1953, No. 85 was shipped to the Travel Town train museum in Los Angeles. But it no longer ran after its boiler broke in the 1960s.

In the 1990s, one of the former owners of the Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad shipped it to Maui to try to get it running for tourists, said Virgil Rewick, one of the Hawaiian Railway Society’s board members.

Instead, No. 85 was taken apart and remained in pieces over the years, along with its tender car, Rewick said.

At the time, the society offered to buy No. 85 and its tender from the former owners of the Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad for $20,000, but the offer was never accepted as the organization changed hands — until the current owners agreed to the old deal this year.

Yesterday, the locomotive and its tender arrived by barge at Honolulu Harbor and made their way on separate truck beds to the society’s home in Ewa, joining the other two remaining steam engines from the Oahu Railway & Land Co.

"No. 85 was a workhorse," Rewick said. "And it’s the last of three steam locomotives from the OR&L left on the face of the earth."

Over the next several months, volunteers will restore No. 85 and its tender in the society’s maintenance restoration facility and anyone can watch the work.

As he looked at No. 85 yesterday, Larry Howard, the society’s vice president, said: "It’s a great thing to have it come back after 57 years. This is a great day."

Comments have been disabled for this story...

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up