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Trains of Hawaii 2023 Present and Future

Trains of Hawaii 2023

Present and Future

(The "Past" was dealt with in this report:

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This report includes, Hawaiian Railway Society, Dole Pineapple Express, and Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART).

June 5 - 11, 2023

Photos, except where noted, and Report by Carl Morrison,

Table of Contents

1.  Hawaiian Railway Society - Present

2.  Dole Pineapple Express - Present

3.  Honolulu Rail Transit - Future

Hawaiian Railway Society


The Office and gift shop

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When I checked in and mentioned that I would be doing a report on their operation, the lady said, "I'll introduce your to our Operations Manager, Steven."

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Steven immediately took us on a tour of the property.  He mentioned that the Society owns the museum property, but the trackage is owned by the state.  The trackage is listed as a National Historic Site.  We saw a speeder go out for track work before our ride, so the Museum must maintain the tracks.

Steven first showed us Observation Car #64, their pride and joy, and we even were allowed inside.

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One unique thing about Dillingham's private car was the large observation deck on the back, for use in the excellent Hawaiian weather.


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From the large open platform, we went inside.  First was a large lounge with wicker seats some of which were used outside on the platform during operation.

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The car has a kitchen, bathroom, and small platform on the other end.

Next, we saw the adjacent car, Coach No. 57, being fully restored.



On the deck of Coach No. 57 were these railroad spikes.

Volunteer work was in progress all around the museum


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Other classics at the museum

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Time to visit the Toy Train Museum before the train departs

Nice display explaining the different gauges of toy trains

Nice first Trans-Con display as well.

I was most impressed with their extensive toy train layouts


Even one section with transformers low enough for small visitors to operate

Even one or more trains running overhead.

It was soon time for a good crowd to board for a round trip ride to Electric Beach.

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Steven, who meets all departures and arrivals, suggested we sit in the last car, which becomes the front car on return when the locomotive is in push mode.

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We ride directly to Electric Beach with a cooling pond from the steam powered electric plant across the road.

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At Ko'olina we are the closest to the Pacific of any spot on the trip.

On the return from Electric Beach, in push mode, the train stops on some trips for ice cream at Ko'olina, across from the
Disney Aulani Resort.

The Disney Aulani Resort from the railroad during the ice cream stop.

Riders cross the tracks on a golf cart crossing to get to the ice cream shop.

This stop is a good time for a portrait of the Whitcomb locomotive and trainset with nice surroundings.

Along the route, the young announcer points out a section of unchanged Western Oahu scenery.

Steven mentioned that the end of the
Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation (HART) was just 2 miles north of his historic railway; Part 3 of this report.  Now the Dole Pineapple Express.


If the above video does not work;
Click Here to see a video of the Dole Plantation train.


The Pineapple Express train was originally built in England by Severn Lamb. It is driven via diesel motor and hydraulic pump, very similar to a bulldozer. The engine and train is modeled after an 1870 design 4-4-0 with tender. It has four passenger cars.

Their other two locomotives:


The Lady Liberty train arrived in the islands in 2003 and was designed as a replica of a Mason Bogey 0-4-4T, originally manufactured by Mason Machine Works in Taunton, Massachusetts in 1883. This particular model was popular in the early 1900’s due to its ability to run on 3′ gauge tracks on hills and over sharp curves. They were used all over the United States in mining, logging and short-line passenger service.


The Aloha Express train was built in China by Hangzhou Trains Equipment Co., Ltd. Its drive is Diesel Electric similar to full size trains operating all over the United States. The locomotive is an 0-6-0 with separate tender. It hauls three passenger cars, also manufactured by Hangzhou Trains Equipment Co., Ltd.


Our fourth and newest train, The Ohana Express, was also built in China by Hangzhou Trains Equipment Co., Ltd. It is our newest work horse. Its drive is Diesel Electric similar to full size trains operating all over the United States. The locomotive is an 0-6-0 with separate tender. It hauls three passenger cars, also manufactured by Hangzhou Trains Equipment Co., Ltd.


    Adults – $13.75
    Children (4-12) – $11.75
    Kama’aina/Military – $13.00
    Group Tours (25 or more) – $12.25 (NOTE: All Group Tours are temporarily unavailable, please check back later.)
    Children under 4 are free when accompanied by an adult.

Photos from the tour:

Click Here:

Dole's Video explaining their pineapple plantation in Costa Rica.

Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transit (HART) Skyline
“the first driverless rail transit system in the U.S.”

Pre-opening train during testing at the 2 western-most stations.

In our travels to Oahu for the past 3 or 4 years, I have noticed the development of the Skyline west of Honolulu and the testing of the trains on the elevated tracks for the last 2 years.  It just so happened that the first segment would open June 30, 2023, 5 days after out visit to Oahu ended.  However, I will take a ride on this brand new railroad in November when we return.

Train # 1 was unveiled at the Rail Operations & Control Center. Ansaldo Honolulu Joint Venture (AHJV), a consortium of Hitachi Group Companies Ansaldo STS (ASTS) and Hitachi Rail Italy (HRI), presented the trainset to the city of Honolulu and HART. HRI is responsible for the design, manufacturing and testing of 20 trains for the system, described as “the first driverless rail transit system in the U.S.” The Honolulu Metro is a DBOM (design-build-operate-maintain) project.

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Times to Civic Center

The first of three segments of Honolulu's Skyline rail opens on June 30, 2023. The 10.75-mile stretch goes from Hālawa Aloha Stadium to Kualakaʻi East Kapolei. It’s about a 22-minute one-way ride, or 45 minutes roundtrip. HPR's Sabrina Bodon takes us along for the ride.

The ride offers sweeping views of Oʻahu, kalo farms, the Pacific Ocean, and regular, everyday life in the towns it passes through and over.

When the rail opens on June 30 at 2 p.m., rides will be free, with gates open at all nine stations. Beginning July 1, riders will need a HOLO Card to board, though fares will not be collected.

And speaking of HOLO cards, there are several limited designs featuring Skyline’s mascot: the manu-
“What's unique about our system, as opposed to many other light rail systems and light metro systems on the continent and elsewhere, is that it is a line in the sky,” he continued. “We are fully elevated.”

KITV pre-opening  news story:

The name ties in with the project’s new symbol, the manu-o-Kū.
Not only is the white tern the official bird of the City and County of Honolulu, but it also served as a predictor of a successful journey to Native Hawaiian voyagers.

The bird earned its place in the hearts of officials back in January, when they encountered one at Ka Papa Loʻi ʻo Kānewai, a kalo patch in Mānoa connected to the University of Hawaiʻi.

The manu-o-Kū is the new symbol of the Honolulu rail

KITV Photo of Manu-o-Kü

“A group seated in front of the hālau there immediately discovered a nesting baby manu-o-Kū, who was only about 6 feet above us [and] was very, very curious about us,” Nouchi said.

Nouchi and his team learned that, although manu-o-Kū were endangered in the past, they have become more widespread on Oʻahu.

While driverless trains will sometimes have operators and roving patrols, lone seats at either end of the train offers the best view.

"That's just more for our operations and maintenance staff when they're maintaining and moving around," Lurz said. "Other than that the seat will be filled by the general public. Anybody can sit there."


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Photo of opening station:

Holo Card

Get an annual pass and reduced fare HOLO cards—including Disability, Medicare, Senior, and Youth cards— at TheBus Pass Office on Middle Street. Senior and Youth cards are also available at all Satellite City Halls, except Ala Moana Satellite City Hall, by appointment only (schedule your appointment at  Wainae Satellite City Hall (808) 768-3798
Please bring a valid ID to get your Senior, Youth or Medicare HOLO card and the required physician forms for a HOLO Disability card. To learn more about TheBus reduced fare card programs, please visit
All participating stores (except ABC Stores) can load a value of $3 or more onto your HOLO card. Some stores can also load day, month, and annual passes (see table below).

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Son, Matt, and I found the end of the system about 2 miles from the Hawaii Railway Society on which we had ridden and reported on above.

The end of the line is Kualakai Station, above with a parked trainset.

Not far north is the next station, Keone'ae with a pedestrian bridge to University of West Oahu.

Keone'ae Station with pedestrian bridge to Univ. West Oahu (left in photo).

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Proximity of H1 to HART Skyline on GPS maps
Univ. of Hawai'i and HART station above left; End of tracks and last station upper right.

On July 5, 2023, KITV reported:  "Nearly 72,000 passengers rode Skyline during its opening weekend."

KITV's report on opening day:


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