Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad

The Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad (LKPRR) is a steam-powered, 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge heritage railroad in Lāhainā, Hawaii. The LKPRR operated the Sugar Cane Train, a 6-mile, 40-minute trip in open-air coaches pulled by vintage steam locomotives. The tracks connect Lahaina with Puukolii, stopping briefly at Kaanapali. A narrator points outs sites of interest during the trip, which crosses a 325-foot curved wooden trestle whose elevation yields panoramic views of neighboring islands and the West Maui Mountains. The line currently operates seasonal holiday trips, with full operations to be resumed in the near future.

Lahaina, Kaanapali and Pacific Railroad (LKPRR)
LocaleMaui County, Hawaii
Preserved operations
Owned byCraig Hill
Reporting markLK&P
Length6 miles (9.7 km)
Preserved gauge3 ft (914 mm)
Commercial history
Opened1970 (1970)
Preservation history
HeadquartersLahaina, Hawaii


The line follows a 6-mile stretch of historic right-of-way originally constructed to haul sugarcane from the sugarcane plantation fields in Kāʻanapali to the Pioneer Mill in Lahaina.[1] At one time, the island had over 200 miles of rails connecting the sugarcane plantations to the mills. Trucks, however, largely replaced the railroads by the middle 20th century. In 1969, A.W. "Mac" McKelvey and the Makai Corporation created the railroad in order to illustrate this part of Hawaii's past.[2]

On July 24, 2014, the company announced that it would be closing on August 1, 2014 due to financial difficulties. The company was put up for sale as a going concern.[3]

Within months of closing, the Sugar Cane Train was bought by a local Maui resident Craig Hill owner of Maui Concierge Services. Hill felt that the Sugar Cane Train needed to be kept running in order to preserve one of Lahaina's best-known attractions. The Sugar Cane Train is currently running seasonal "Holiday Express" trains, which run on a short stretch of track in Kaanapali. These trains take place from late November up to December 25th. The full line is now in the process of being revived.

The company plans to rebuild all 3 locomotives from the ground up, as well as possibly add grade crossings to prevent accidents. Plans for the Sugar Cane Train also includes hosting weddings as well as running an evening train. The old tracks are being removed and are being replaced with newer ties and rails. Although the official website[4] stated that operations would resume in 2018, the only trips that operated were the Holiday Express trains. In an interview, the co-owner of the railroad, Lahaina businessman Todd Domeck stated that the railroad aims to return to full operations in May 2019.[5]

Motive power

  • No. 1 Anaka: a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge 2-4-0 steam locomotive produced by H.K. Porter, Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in February 1943 for the Carbon Limestone Company.[6] The engine has undergone extensive exterior modification since it was built by Porter. It was built as a 0-4-0 saddle tank locomotive.[7] In this form, it had a large tank surrounding the boiler, which held water for the locomotive. The LKPRR removed the saddle tanks, added a tender to hold water and fuel, added a larger smokestack, a wooden cab and larger headlight that resembles oil lamps once found on steam locomotives. These changes transformed the engine from a comparatively austere industrial locomotive, into a more lively and colorful engine representative of many small mainline engines once found on railroads throughout the United States in the late 19th century.
  • No. 3 Myrtle: produced as a brother engine to No. 1, the No. 3 is also a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge 2-4-0 steam locomotive produced by H.K. Porter, Inc. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in February 1943 for the Carbon Limestone Company.[6] The LKPRR similarly altered the appearance of this engine, but gave it a slightly more modern appearance, representative of a typical oil-burning engine from the early 20th century. As such, it has a steel cab, whaleback tender, small headlight modeled on an electric prototype, and darker color scheme. The No. 3's design, name and number were inspired by a historic sugarcane engine built in 1900 for the Hawaii Railroad and retired in 1945.[8]
  • No. 5: a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge outside frame 0-6-2 ST locomotive. This engine is not in operating condition, but it is the only steam engine owned by the LKPRR with historical ties to Hawaii. It once ran on the Oahu Railway and Land Company until it was donated in 1954 to the Travel Town Museum in Los Angeles.[9] Through an equipment trade with Travel Town, the LKPRR brought No. 5 back to Hawaii, where it remains today awaiting restoration.
  • No. 45 Oahu: a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge MDT Plymouth diesel locomotive[10]

Points of interest

  • The Hahakea 325-foot wooden trestle
  • An operating wooden turntable, used for turning locomotives in Lahaina
  • Views of neighboring islands Lanai and Molokai
  • Views of the Hale Mahina, also known as the West Maui Mountains
  • Blowdown by train yard and trestle

See also


  1. Clark, John R. K. (1989). The Beaches of Maui County. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press. p. 61. ISBN 0-8248-1246-8."RailAmerica agrees to acquire StatesRail for $90 million". Pacific Business News. October 16, 2001. The Lahaina, Kaanapali & Pacific Railroad, the "Sugar Cane Train," operates a tourist train over six miles between Lahaina and Kaanapali. Since 1970, over 5 million tourists in Maui have ridden the train.
  2. "Sugar Cane Train History". Archived from the original on March 27, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
  3. Rockett, Louis (31 July 2014). "Sugar Cane Train slated to shut down on Friday". Lahaina News.
  4. "Sugar Cane Train Maui - Lahaina Sugar Cane Train". Lahaina Sugar Cane Train. Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  5. "Back on track: All aboard the Sugar Cane Train | News, Sports, Jobs - Maui News". Retrieved 2019-01-18.
  6. "Steam Locomotive Information". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
  7. "The Lahaina, Kaanapali & Pacific". September 3, 2002. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
  8. "History". Archived from the original on April 8, 2009. Retrieved March 14, 2009.
  9. "Travel Town by G.M. Best, page 5". Retrieved March 14, 2009.
  10. Jay Reed (March 9, 2009). "Preserved Critters Dinkys & Centercabs". Retrieved March 14, 2009.

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