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Welcome to the visitor’s guide to the Kauai Plantation Railway! In this post, we’ll provide you with all of the essential things to know about the Kauai Plantation Railway, one of Kauai’s most unique historical attractions.

Whether you’re a local resident or a tourist visiting, this guide will help you make the most of your experience at the railway. From its fascinating history to the exciting activities it offers, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!

Overview Of The Kauai Plantation Railway

The Kauai Plantation Railway, located within the Kilohana Plantation in Kauai, Hawaii, offers visitors an immersive experience through its train rides. As you journey on the railway, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the plantation’s fields and orchards, where various fruits are grown. Keep an eye out for the adorable animals, including pigs, goats, and donkeys, which add to the charm of the experience.

For those seeking a more interactive adventure, the railway also offers an “adventure tour” where passengers can disembark, feed the animals, and explore a nearby valley.

Prepare to be captivated by the picturesque landscapes, the joy of animal encounters, and the nostalgia of riding aboard vintage-inspired passenger cars.

The Kauai Plantation Railway offers a memorable adventure that celebrates the plantation’s agricultural abundance and showcases the island’s natural beauty.

How To Explore The Kauai Plantation Railway

The Kauai Plantation Railway offers an immersive experience that takes visitors on a scenic tour through the island’s lush landscapes. As you board the train, you will be greeted by knowledgeable guides who will share information about the history and cultural significance of the railway.

The train ride takes you through picturesque sugar cane fields, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and coastline. Keep your camera ready to capture the amazing views!

Kauai Plantation Railway Facts & Information

  • The trains at the Kauai Plantation Railway are pulled by a 25-ton switcher locomotive, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable ride. Accommodations are provided in four-passenger cars, each with a capacity of 36 individuals.
  • These cars are named after Hawaiian rivers and were designed to resemble the historic passenger cars once used by King Kalākaua of Hawaiʻi. Whether you choose an enclosed passenger car or the open-sided option, you’ll have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the plantation.
  • It’s worth noting that the passenger cars are placed on flatcars that have an intriguing history. Originally built in 1941 by the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor, these flatcars served the Oahu Railway and Land Company before finding their way to the White Pass and Yukon Route in Alaska. They eventually became part of the Kauai Plantation Railway, adding to the uniqueness of the experience.

Family-Friendly Activities

The Kauai Plantation Railway provides a range of family-friendly activities that cater to visitors of all ages. Apart from the train ride, you can enjoy exploring the Plantation Village, where you’ll find interactive displays, educational exhibits, and demonstrations that showcase the traditional Hawaiian way of life.

Depending on which tour you decide to take, you may even get to feed the animals!

Plan Your Visit

Before you head to the Kauai Plantation Railway, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Operating Hours: The railway is open from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. It is recommended to check their website or contact them for any seasonal updates or changes.
  • Ticket Information: Prices for tickets vary depending on age and activities. Visit their website or contact them directly for accurate and up-to-date pricing.
  • What To Bring: Wear comfortable clothing and footwear as you will be walking and exploring the plantation. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beautiful moments!
  • Additional Attractions: The Kauai Plantation Railway is located near other popular attractions on the island. Consider planning a full day of activities to make the most of your visit to Kauai.

Kauai Plantation Railway Nearby Attractions

If you’re looking for some nearby fun after wrapping up your day at the railway, check out some of these fun activities in the area.

  • Check out the Koloa Heritage Trail: Immerse yourself in the rich history of Koloa as you explore the Koloa Heritage Trail, a scenic walking path dotted with historical sites and cultural landmarks that tell the story of this charming town’s past.
  • Kipu Kai Beach: Discover a hidden gem on the shores of Kauai at Kipu Kai Beach, renowned for its pristine white sands, crystal-clear waters, and breathtaking coastal views that make it a perfect spot for relaxation and beachcombing.
  • Poipu Beach: Indulge in the sun-soaked paradise of Poipu Beach, where golden sands, gentle waves, and an abundance of marine life create a haven for snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing.
  • Ziplining With Koloa Zipline: For adrenaline enthusiasts seeking an exhilarating adventure, experience the thrill of ziplining with us at Koloa Zipline. Soar through the lush canopy, taking in panoramic views of Kauai’s natural beauty while enjoying an adrenaline-pumping and unforgettable experience. Located just under 5 miles from the Kilohana Railway, it’s the perfect way to add to the fun of your day trip. Book now, or give us a call to learn more!

Special Events and Seasonal Offerings

Throughout the year, the Kauai Plantation Railway hosts special events and seasonal offerings that add an extra layer of excitement to your visit.

Keep an eye on their website or social media channels for updates on events such as holiday celebrations, cultural festivals, or themed train rides.

History of the Kauai Plantation Railway

The Kauai Plantation Railway holds a fascinating history intertwined with the Kilohana Plantation, which dates back to the 1930s.

Originally constructed as the private estate for Gaylord Wilcox, a prominent Hawaiian business magnate, the mansion at Kilohana Plantation became the centerpiece of the property.

In 1986, Fred Atkins took over the plantation, transforming it into a restaurant and event venue, attracting visitors with its historical charm.

However, in 1992, Hurricane Iniki wreaked havoc on the island, forcing the plantation to close for a year. Although it reopened, the business struggled to regain its previous momentum.

Determined to revitalize the plantation, Atkins decided to change the business model in 2003. He introduced diverse agricultural activities within the plantation, showcasing the techniques and practices of smaller farmers to create a unique visitor experience.

The Recent History Kauai Plantation Railway

To further enhance the plantation’s offerings, the idea of a railroad was conceived. In 2006, after eight months of construction, the Kauai Plantation Railway was built, marking the first new railroad on the Hawaiian islands in a century.

The 2.5-mile (4 km) track meanders through the picturesque Kilohana Plantation, offering passengers a scenic ride. While the original plan was to operate steam locomotives, budget constraints led to the use of two diesel locomotives instead.

The first diesel locomotive, a Geo D. Whitcomb Company switcher built in 1939, and the second, a GE 25-ton switcher manufactured in 1948, were used to pull the passenger cars along the tracks.

These locomotives were selected due to their availability, allowing the railway to begin operations in January 2007 without the substantial costs associated with restoring the steam locomotives.

The Kauai Plantation Railway Today

Today, the Kauai Plantation Railway continues to preserve the heritage of Kauai’s sugar plantation era, providing visitors with a glimpse into the island’s rich history. The journey through the plantation offers a unique opportunity to explore the beautiful landscapes while learning about the significance of the sugar industry and the efforts made to revitalize and sustain the Kilohana Plantation.

Through the Kauai Plantation Railway, visitors can appreciate the dedication of the plantation’s owners and staff in preserving the past, sharing the island’s cultural heritage, and showcasing sustainable agricultural practices—all while enjoying a memorable and educational experience.

Visit The Kauai Plantation Railway!

The Kauai Plantation Railway offers a captivating journey through history and nature, providing visitors with a unique and educational experience.

Whether you’re interested in the island’s rich heritage, and stunning landscapes or simply enjoying quality time with your family, this railway has something for everyone. Visit the railway and learn more about  Kauai’s fascinating history!