Frequently Asked Questions


Why does Hawaii Railway #5 burn oil?

Hawaii has no fossil fuel resources and thus requires fuel to be shipped in. In the early years of the railway, coal was used, but oil is easier to obtain and more convenient to transport, so the use of coal was phased out around the time of World War One. Number five originally burned Bunker C oil but presently burns home heating oil. Similar to diesel fuel, this oil flows easily unlike Bunker C which needed to be heated before it could be used in the atomizer.

How does the locomotive burn oil?

The oil is burned in the fire box of the locomotive using an atomizer. Oil and steam meet inside the atomizer and the steam blows the oil out in a spray that provides the flame.

How much fuel does the locomotive burn?

When the locomotive is running light (without a train), it will consume 50 to 60 gallons of fuel in one day.

How many cars can the locomotive pull?

Number five probably pulled short, 2-4 car long, trains historically. Today it is limited by the two gondolas on site, but it could easily pull trains of half a dozen cars.

What is the locomotive classified as in regards to its wheel arrangement?

The locomotive is a 2-4-2 and was referred to as a “Four Coupled Double-Ender” by Baldwin, the company that built it. 2-4-2’s were also called Columbia type engines, but #5 is not a true Columbia type. The name was given to a standard gauge, high drivered, Baldwin 2-4-2 destined for display at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. This was a high speed engine used for express service whereas Hawaii #5 was built for industrial use.

Has the locomotive ever been used in a movie?

Number five was used briefly in the 1979 film "Butch and Sundance: The Early Days." If you would like to use the locomotive in a film, please contact us.

Does any company make a model of number five?

Until recently, Bachmann produced a G-scale model based upon number five. While the design is a copy of number five, the models were all unlettered or painted for different railroads. Several liberties were also taken as there is a coal load in place of an oil bunker and spoked, rather than solid, pilot and trailing wheels. It is still possible to purchase the model second hand or as stock from certain dealers. If you own one of these models and would like its picture displayed on sugartrains.com, please e-mail us.

Who owns and operates sugartrains.com?

This web site is owned by Dr. Richard May, owner of Hawaii Railway #5. Construction and maintenance of the web site is done by me, Mike Piersa. I am an active volunteer with the Connecticut Antique Machinery Association where I work with #5. >