Next Stop Honolulu! The Story of the Oahu Railway & Land Company

Reference book
Next Stop Honolulu!: The Story of the Oahu Railway & Land Company
by Jim Chiddix and MacKinnon Simpson
Published by:
Sugar Cane Press
PO Box 161201
Honolulu HI 96816
9½" x 12¼"; hardbound; 352 pages;glossy paper; profusely illustrated in black-and-white and color
Price: $59.95
Web site:
Were you aware that the Island of Oahu had an extensive, highly developed, narrow-gauge railway system? It served several communities (some of which it founded itself) and many industries, including the huge sugarcane industry, which it again was instrumental in getting off the ground.

This book chronicles the amazing story of the Oahu Railway & Land Company, from its rocky beginnings in 1888, when the franchise was first awarded by the government, to the abandonment of its mainline in 1946, to the last years of its struggle, when, in 1971, the last vestiges had died.

The book is a fascinating read, whether you're a railway historian, a narrow-gauge modeler, or just like trains. The OR&L had an amazing variety of steam locomotives, from tiny 0-4-0s up to three-truck Shays. It had interesting railcars, lots of unusual rolling stock-most of which was made in the company shops-and was the only US narrow-gauge route to use a signalling system on part of its line.

For the garden railroader, the book is a gold mine of ideas, showing how a small, flourishing, narrow-gauge railroad can serve a richly diverse industrial community, hauling both freight and passengers to a timetable.

The book itself is beautiful. It's well written and is very readable. I felt like I was really reading a story, not a dry account of financial records. The volume was extensively researched and had the advantage of several heretofore unavailable archives as resources. The photo quality is excellent, as are the drawings and other graphics. At the end of the book are even a couple of scale drawings, one of a caboose and the other of a combine (I wish there had been more), reflecting one of the authors' involvement in model railroading. Next Stop Honolulu! is highly recommended.


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