As a rail-fan, I’d like to wish a very unique piece of history a very special birthday. So, happy 100th birthday Waialua Agricultural Co #6!
Many are surprised to know that Hawaii has a rich and diverse history of railroading. Railroads in the islands run the gamut of tiny plantation operations, to class 1 narrow-gauge railroads, and even a class 1 standard-gauge railroad. Unfortunately, though, not much of this history has been preserved. In fact, the only remaining road engines from Hawaii’s class 1 operations are the Kahului Railroad #12 at the Midwest Central Railroad and Oahu Railway’s #85 at the Hawaiian Railway Society. But, some rather unique pieces from smaller operations did survive.
Waialua Agricultural Co 6
Also known as WACO 6, the Waialua Agricultural Co 6 is a small, sugar plantation 2-6-2 saddle-tank locomotive. She is the last steam locomotive to run on Oahu in the late 1980’s and is the only locomotive built in Hawaii. Granted, she was put together from a collection of spare parts by the Waialua Agricultural Company’s shops, but, still.
WACO 6 is also one of the primary reasons the Hawaiian Railway Society was formed. It was to save this little locomotive and restore her to operational status. In fact, here’s a photo of WACO 6 from the 70’s.
Unfortunately, WACO 6 no longer runs today. It is a long-term goal of the society to fix that, but running steam locomotives is hard. Heck, I still don’t know if Maui’s Sugar Cane Train will re-open this year like they said they would. But, as you’ll recall from a previous post, the Hawaiian Railway Society does offer diesel-powered rides every weekend. And you can even ride in there personal parlor car of Oahu Railway’s founder Benjamin Dillingham.
WACO 6 Turns 100
Anyway, getting back on track (heh), WACO 6 turns 100 this weekend! Built in 1919, she’s been around for quite some time. Not quite as long as Hawaiian Railway Society’s other locomotives, but that’s still impressive.
To celebrate, the Society brought WACO 6 out of the engine house and onto the mainline yesterday. Staged there with her is Parlor Car 64, which I got to ride last year.
Both pieces of history look stunning. Parlor Car 64 recently got a new coat of paint, and WACO 6 is all in one piece for the occasion.
Happy 100th Birthday Waialua Agricultural Co 6, Final Thoughts
If you didn’t get to see WACO 6 yesterday and still want to, you have another chance today. She’s on display once again from 1 pm to 4 pm at the Hawaiian Railways Society’s Ewa Yard. And on Monday, they’re running a special freight train with photo ops. They’re also selling special centennial shirts in the gift shop for $17, though they’ll ship in the U.S. for $8.
Even if you can’t make the centennial celebration, I encourage you go take a ride. The Hawaiian Railway Society offers the only historic mainline experience in Hawaii. Plus, your patronage helps them continue on with their mission.