Reviews


Kind words from Mallory Hope Ferrell, noted railroad author and historian:

"A wonderful history of a fascinating railroad!"



Review from NARROW GAUGE AND SHORT LINE GAZETTE November/December 2004, Volume 30, Number 5

This book tells the story of the 3-foot gauge Oahu Railway & Land Company railroad that once operated on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. Beautifully done, printed on high quality paper, and well organized, this book is a good read.  The Oahu Railway & Land Company line was built to haul sugar cane to refineries, but it also carried passengers, and moved pineapples, garbage, fertilizer, coral concrete, empty cans to canneries, and full ones to the docks.  It also hauled general merchandise, and oil and gasoline.  During World War II, the railroad hauled guns to batteries, ammunition to bases, depots and ships - and soldiers, sailors, and marines to the bars, tattoo parlors, and dance halls in Honolulu.

The railway was unusually heavy for a narrow gauge line, and featured a sophisticated automatic block signal system with trains running at 5-minute intervals. The roster included large and small locomotives, ranging from a steam dummy, through two lovely 4-4-0's, several classes of 0-6-0's with slope backed tenders, a series of 2-6-0's, 4-6-0's, 2-8-0's and several big 2-8-2's similar to the K-class locomotives once used on the Denver & Rio Grande Western in Colorado.  There were even two, three-truck Shays, several homemade motor cars, and a little Ford rail bus.  All wonderful for modeling.

But this is more than a railroad book.  It tells the story of how the railroad influenced the island of Oahu and its people.  The railway was indispensable during World War II, but it was "run to death" and abandoned in 1947.

The book's chapters cover the history of the railroad and the industries and people it served.  The book is full of excerpts from historic newspapers and magazines.  However, rather than print them as quotations in italics, many are reproduced as photos of clippings from the original publications.  Numerous "sidebars" (some several pages long) describe such things as hotels, special trains, and people.  The wartime chapters include sidebars on topics such as martial law, Hotel Street, and the experiences of the service men and women riding on the trains.  There are also sidebars on the standard gauge coal wharf, the army's Mid-Pacific Railroad, the 41st Coast Artillery's private the army's "secret" railway, Schofield Barracks, and much more.

The demise and scrapping of the line is described, as are the preservation efforts such as the Hibiscus & Heleconia Short Line Railroad, and the Hawaiian Railway Society.  The roster has photos and dimensions of all the locomotives and railcars.  There is a plan by Ed Gebhardt for and 0-6-0, as well as plans for a passenger car and a caboose by Jim Dunlop.  Both Ed and Jim are GAZETTE planmakers.

The book ends with selected excerpts from the railway's Annual Report, Acknowledgments, a Bibliography (including a list of the many pertinent plans published in the GAZETTE), and an Index of Individuals.  There is no general index.  I enjoyed this book. 
Bob Brown.



Review by Cecile Lampton (Sausalito, CA)
  
'Next Stop Honolulu' is obviously a wonderful book for railroad aficionados. For me, although the book's principal subject is interesting (the explanation of how steam locomotives work on page 66 was the first one I've ever actually found understandable), it is the general facts about Hawaii and its history and local lore that are fascinating. This is a very interesting book, with lots of delightful illustrations, beautifully reproduced, which include old newspaper articles, photographs, maps, etc. For someone who hasn't read much about Hawaii since Michener, this was an engrossing read about the railway company that linked the sugar plantations in Oahu, but with lots of additional colorful detail. Anyone who likes Hawaii or railroad history would love this book.

© 2006 Sugar Cane Press - All rights reserved.