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Plantation locomotive, Olomana

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Plantation locomotive, Olomana
Smithsonian Institution, Negative #: 78-296


This object appears in the following sections:

Work and Industry
Plantation Locomotive, Olomana — The Olomana in the Kingdom of Hawaii

Plantation locomtive, Olomana

Plantation Locomotive, Olomana
Catalog #: 336162, Accession #: 1977.0647
Currently on loan
From the Smithsonian Collection

The Olomana was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, for the Waimanolo Sugar Company of Oahu, then part of the Kindom of Hawaii. It was the third locomotive to arrive on the island and was originally named the Puaalii. This narrow guage tank engine worked for 62 seasons, pulling cars of sugar cane from the fields to the processing plant located in northeastern Oahu. During this time few mechanical changes were made; however, the boiler was replaced twice and the fuel was changed from coal to oil in 1928.

During its service life the Olomana hauled or pushed small four wheel cars piled with sugar cane. The sticky juice from the cane lubricated the tracks so that extra sand was needed to imporve the engine's traction. The Olomana and other two locomotives were outfitted with extra sand boxes during their service. Traction, not speed, was the Olomana's chief concern. She was designed for slow speed pulling, with 20 mph an optimum, and normal running speeds far below that pace.

The Olomana was retired in 1944 when the 'sugar railroad' was abandoned in favor of motor trucks. Four years later the engine was purchased by Gerald M. Best of California. Mr. Best and his wife, Harriet B. Best, restored the engine and operated it on a private railroad in Los Angeles area before presenting it to the Smithsonian in 1977.

Physical Description

Artifact. Plantation type locomotive. Narrow guage (36") Tank engine, 0-4-2T. Dimentions: 19' 41/4" L x 70" W x 8'10" H. Weight: 14550 lbs, less fuel and water. Color: Green with gold lettering, red wheels and trim.

Date Made:
Dates Used:
1883 - 1944
Hawaii, Pennsylvania
Gerald M. and Harriet B. Best
Thousands of small industrial locomotives were once so essential to American industry. They were far more efficient than animal or human power and were used by steel mills, lumber yards, stone quarries and gravel pits. They were also widely employed on temporary railroads used by general contractors engaged in dam, road, tunnel and other major construction projects. They were a common part of the American industrial scene from about 1870 to 1940, when motor truck proved more economical for this specialized service.
Related People, Places, and Events
Baldwin Locomotive Works

Waimanalo Sugar Company (1883 - 1944)

Location of Manufacturer
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1883)

Location of Waimanalo Sugar Company
Oahu, Hawaii (1883 - 1944)
Waimanalo Sugar Company purchased the Olomana

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