Akahele I Ke Ka'a'ahi ~ Monday, March 12, 2012
Is how you say "look out for trains" in Hawaiian (literally, Ka'a'ahi means "fire wagon"), and was once painted on crossbucks in Hawai'i.
We are just back from a vacation to Hawai'i and rode the Hawaiian Railway Society's train on a restored piece of the Oahu Railway and Land Company's trackage, from Ewa (west of Pearl Harbor) to Kane Point (just to the leeward/western coast of the island and around the corner).
Trains are pulled by a pair of ex-Navy Whitcomb centercabs.
There are also a few (cute!) steam engines on the property, some from the OR&L, some from plantation railroads.
Some trains include a very nicely restored open platform observation car.
Also on the grounds you can see a variety of freight equipment, and a small French boxcar, Hawai'i's car from the "Merci Train".
This elevated quonset hut serves as an office and gift shop. It's a type of building you see here and there around Hawai'i.
The train ride was enthusiastically enjoyed by the whole family.
Actually, Wini described the ride as "cool", for the surprising reason that it goes through some industrial scenery.
Later, Nathan and I took a bus ride up the west side of the island, mostly because where else can you ride a city bus with scenery like this? There is beach on one side of the road, and mountains that look like Middle Earth on the other.
One does not simply ride a bus into Mordor.
Nathan enjoying the sunset--and a vanilla milk.
There's not much to do in Waianae so we just got snacks at Starbucks and rode back. We did notice that OR&L tracks do actually stretch up the coast quite a bit farther than the current museum train goes--some bridges are still there, others are not. Hopefully the ride will be extended some day, especially since the Ewa area is one piece of paradise which they're rapidly "paving and putting up parking lots" (fair warning: if you drag reluctant family members onto this ride with the promise of seaside scenery like what the HRS shows in their brochure and website, they're going to have to go through some less scenic scenery first to get there).
Later we rode the Waikiki trollop. Technically it's just a fancied-up bus, but still it's fun, and free.
A few days later we swung through the neigborhood of the train museum again, and even though nothing was running that day (trains run Sundays--plan your next Hawai'i vacation accordingly!) the gate was open, and while revisiting the trains we were invited to take a look in the shop, where volunteers were working on a track speeder.
Returning to this blog's theme of electric railways; Honolulu has broken ground on a new transit system, HART. As usual, there is squabbling over details. I heard a radio ad urging that the project should go forward without delay; appropriately enough, while stuck in traffic, which is bad there, even well outside of the city. Hopefully by the next time we visit there'll be another train to ride.