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The Bloggery.

November 19, 2014

Oahu’s Narrow-Gauge Navy Rail, a book review

By: Randy Hees

I recently received a copy of a new book, Oahu’s Narrow-Gauge Navy Rail, authored by Jeff Livingston. This is one of the Arcadia Publishing “Images or Rail” books. Like other Arcadia books it is primarily a book of photographs. Unlike many other Arcadia books this is a very well researched and written work.

Jeff has divided the work into four chapters: Building a Shipyard; 1908-1920, Expansion; 1921-1940, World War II; 1941-1945, and The Postwar Period and the End; 1946-1970.

The work includes the construction and operation of the railroad system at the US Naval base at Pearl Harbor, as well as the associated shipyard and dry docks, coaling station, submarine base, as well as munitions facilities at Kuahua Island, West Loch and Laullualei. With the abandonment of the Oahu Railroad and Land Companies mainline in 1947, the Navy assumed ownership and operation of the line between Pearl Harbor, West Loch and Laulllualei, eventually reduced to just the 12 miles between West Loch and Laullualei. The Navy suspended railroad operations in 1972, with much of the remaining track, and some rolling stock being transferred to the Hawaiian Railroad Society, who continue to operate a museum and train ride in part using historic US Navy equipment from Ewa today.

Of particular interest is the significant if strange mix of rolling stock purchased by the Navy during the war. Cars from East Broad Top, The Pacific Coast, Nevada County Narrow Gauge, Colorado Southern ( via the RGS) and D&RGW all found their way to Hawaii.

Jeff Livingston, Oahu’s Narrow-Gauge Navy Rail, (Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina, 2014) ISBN987-1-4671-3197-1

Jeff is a retired Naval Officer, and the Historian for the Hawaiian Railroad Society where is the author of many of the Historian’s Pages, and the author of the pages on the Pearl Harbor’s railroads, Oahu Railroad & Land Company and the Koolau Railway on this site.