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My family & I just returned from 10 days on the Big Island of Hawaii, and we made the trip to the Laupahoehoe Train Museum (pronounced LOP-UH-HOY-HOY, according to the locals I asked). Unfortunately, since it staffed entirely by volunteers, it was closed on the day we visited so we didn't get to look through their archives of photos, videos, and records. The museum is focused on the former Hilo Railroad/Hawaii Consolidated Railway, the only standard-gauge railroad ever operated in the Hawaiian Islands, as well as the former sugar plantation railways of the Hamakua & Paauilo Sugar Companies. Mile-for-mile, the HR/HCR was one of the most expensive railroads built in the USA, and it was the brainchild of one Mr. Dillingham (of Oahu Railway & Land fame).



In spite of being closed, a sign on the door encouraged visitors to explore the grounds and check out the equipment displays (which we did).



The museum has a 3-foot gauge steel explosives boxcar that once belonged to the Hamakua Sugar Company under restoration:



The neat thing about this car is the Koppel trucks & wheels ("Made In Belgium").



There was a 3-foot gauge Plymouth Diesel-Mechanical switching locomotive, formerly of the Hamakua Sugar Company, under restoration:






The crown jewel is a replica standard-gauge wooden caboose like the one that once ran on the Hilo Railroad/Hawaii Consolidated Railway:






I posted some detail photos of these on my Trains page. I apologize in advance for some of the poorer-quality photos; the Hawaiian sun was so intense, that it made for some really dark shadows, and some of the photos came out blurry (although they looked good in the camera's preview window!).


All in all, even though the museum buildings were closed, it was well worth the trip just for the outside displays. I was very impressed with all that the staff has managed to acquire and restore, in spite of being non-profit and volunteer-operated. If you ever go to the Big Island of Hawaii, this museum is a must-see!
 

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Warren, I managed to catch them open on one of my visits to the Big Island:) - if I remember correctly, they also had a tractor modified to resemble a 4-4-0 steam loco/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif that they ran in local parades!/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/blush.gif
They had a couple of small layouts indoors; 1 was American Flyer "S" gauge"/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/wow.gif, which I had myself as a kid./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/tongue.gif Think I remember a small HO layout as well. I think they also had a bookstore section, picked up a couple of books on Hawaiian RR history there. If you get over to Maui, be sure to ride the "Sugar Cane Train" - the steam-powered/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif Lahina, Kanaapali, & Pacific RR (3 foot gauge). Their little 2-4-0 had an exhaust bark that sounded like a MUCH LARGER:cool: loco!
:D Tom
 

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Thanks Tom! I wish I could have caught them when they were open. They had the AF & the H0 layouts in a separate building, which was locked but had plenty of windows to look into. I've got the out-of-print editions of "Sugar Trains of Hawaii" and "Railroads of Hawaii." I also have the many books on the Oahu Railway...must-reads for any rail buffs visiting the islands!! I didn't see the tractor you mentioned; perhaps it was stored in a garage somewhere? On our next visit to the Big Island, I also want to try to retrace some of the old rail grade, which we spotted from Highway 19 and a helicopter ride.


In the 90s I visited Maui and rode the LK&P; great experience!! I was also fortunate enough to be able to visit their loco shed and take a bunch of detail photos...they had a 4-6-0 that was being restored/refurbished for future use, but I haven't checked back to see if they were able to do anything with it. The photos are all prints, and I can't seem to find the negatives to get them printed on a CD for web posting...I will keep looking for the negatives, as this would be so much easier than scanning each & every print, then formatting them, etc...


In 2005 my wife & I visited Kauai and tried to visit the Grove Farms complex, but apparently we didn't talk to the right person as we were refused entry. However, my parents visited last year, and were able to ride the newly-restored Grove Farms tourist railroad. They got a few basic photos, but no detail shots. So we have a reason to go back! Plus come to find out, a contributor to "Narrow Gauge & Fine Scale Gazette," Boone Morrison, is heavily involved with the Grove Farms railroad, so on our next visit I will know which name to drop! :wink:


However, on our Kauai visit, we did talk with a few folks around Lihue who mentioned that there was another tourist railroad being resurrected between Lihue & Koloa...I haven't been able to find any mention of this anywhere, and hope that on our next visit we can find out more info.


On a side note, I also have tons of photos of the Nevada Northern equipment, yards, and shops, but again, these are all prints....I really need to find these negatives!!! While on the islands, I also managed to get photos of the last remaining sugar mills and the trucks & equipment used (Maui & Kauai)....now they're all gone to the Philippines & Central America...
 
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