As we waited on the train, I enjoyed the view of the turquoise-blue ocean glimmering in the
near distance. I could see the conductor walking on the beach at Kahe Beach Park among the bikini clad sunbathers and the snorkelers gearing up for their swim. “Who owns the blue Mazda?” the conductor called out. “You’re blocking the train tracks!” he bellowed. The delay only took about ten minutes, and the riders were not in a hurry.
We were all on a joyride with the Hawaiian Railway Society. We had crawled up the West Shore beginning in Ewa on these historic train tracks, which were built by the sugarcane industry in 1889. The vehicle owner quickly moved his car, and we continued to mosey to the end of the course. Time to reverse direction and head back at the relaxing speed of 15 miles per hour. The stretch with the ocean views of the coastline is breath taking but brief. Most of the route has views of fields, the backside of a Kapolei shopping center, homes, and Ko Olina along the way. Not a fantastic landscape, but the redeeming factor is to experience a real train on Oahu with an informative narration on the history of the railway along the way.
The rides are about an hour and a half round-trip and cost only $15 for adults and $10 for children. The train can hold a maximum of 180 people and is first-come-first-serve. The train runs on a schedule, and all the employees were friendly and helpful. Train rides are available on Saturdays and Sundays. Before our excursion we took the time to view some of the historical cars in the yard. Some are quite old. There is a small gift shop to visit, and snacks are available to eat in the garden like picnic area or on your journey. The picnic area can be reserved for private parties, such as a birthday celebration for your little prince or princess.
The Hawaiian Railway is a great family activity. The kids were obviously giddy with excitement of being on a train and hearing the whistle call.
Interestingly, four of the islands had trains hauling sugarcane in the late 1800s. Oahu had Hawaii’s largest railroad. You can read the rich history of the railroads in Hawaii at Air to Hawaii.
I recommend enjoying this unique activity with your family. All the information for your weekend adventure is at the Hawaiian Railway Society.
Restored Parlor Car built in 1900