As the newest visitor attraction at Kilohana Plantation, the Kauai Plantation Railway recreates the days when steam-powered, narrow gauge trains moved the harvested sugar cane from field to mill, and raw sugar from mill to the wharf for shipment.
The plantation itself once belonged to a plantation owner who managed the largest crop of sugar cane on Kauai Island. This crop practically ran Kauai's economy. Although the line once ran island-wide, the many rails of Kauai's sugar plantations were shut down over 40 years ago. Today, they are just a memory for long-time residents. The historic train at Kilohana Plantation — Photo courtesy of Jade Eckardt
A historic train now runs through the grounds of the Kilohana Plantation and the adjoining 70-acre tropical plantation, which provides much of the produce used in the on-site restaurants. The 2.5-mile rail line passes stands of original island crops, sugar cane, taro and on past grooves of mango, banana, papaya, coffee, pineapple and then on to experimental plantings of longan, cashew, hybrid mango, noni and atamoya. Train riders are told the tale of Kauai's unique place in Hawaii's agricultural history.
When getting off the train, riders can browse a farmers market and gift shop, tour many shops and check out the expansive 16,000-square-foot manager's home, which includes a number of galleries and a courtyard restaurant.