Plantation Locomotive, Olomana

Plantation Locomotive, Olomana

Usage conditions apply
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 gauge 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 improve 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.
Currently on loan
Object Name
Plantation Locomotive
locomotive, plantation
locomotive, full size
Date made
used date
Waimanalo Sugar Company
Baldwin Locomotive Works
Place Made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
United States: Hawaii, Oahu
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
steel (overall material)
brass (overall material)
copper (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 106 in x 70 in x 232 1/4 in; 269.24 cm x 177.8 cm x 589.915 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Gerald M. and Harriet B. Best
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
America on the Move
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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