OR&L Model Railroad

The Oahu Railway & Land Company is an ideal prototype for a model railroad. It was of a manageable size, being confined to an island. It had a wide variety of equipment and served a great number of industries. Its route was dotted with passenger stations, large and small. And everything was picturesque and tropical with a backdrop of lush and majestic mountain ranges and seacoasts.

My model takes four vignettes from the original. The first is Honolulu, with its yards, passenger terminal, locomotive service facility, wharves and businesses of all kinds, including the massive Dole Pineapple cannery complex. The second is rural Oahu, with small-town depots and hamlets and rolling agricultural countryside. The third is Wahiawa and its railway station and pineapple sidings where crates of ripe fruit were stacked on flatcars destined for the canneries in distant Honolulu. And finally, the Ewa sugar plantation, with its smoking mill, plantation village and its own cane-haul railroad bringing in buggies stacked with sugar cane to be crushed for juice that would be boiled down to raw sugar crystals and molasses. the sugar would be put in burlap bags and stacked in boxcars for transport to the docks of Honolulu, where the be loaded on ships bound for California to be refined into white table sugar. The planning and construction of the model are illustrated below as are scenes from the finished project.

The Oahu Railway & Land Company