Railroad Jobs In Hawaii – The Ultimate Guide

It’s no secret that Hawaii is a popular tourist destination because of its islands. The area contains gorgeous white beaches and lush greenery. Luau parties and a wide range of sports, including surfing and fishing, and more. But, you’re here today because you might be wondering, are there railroad jobs in Hawaii?

The answer is: yes. But, there are neither freight nor commuter railways in Hawaii.

Only tourist trains run across the country. Because of this, you might have limited options (compared to other states).

Before you surf your way into a job, ensure you know what you’re getting into.

Here’s the current condition of Hawaii’s economy. What is it like currently? Has Hawaii recovered from the pandemic? Lastly, what is its employment rate?

railroad jobs in Hawaii

The Economy Of Hawaii

Recent research from the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that COVID-19 regulations significantly influenced Hawaii’s economy and social safety.

The death toll from COVID in Hawaii was the lowest in the nation, and the state’s COVID fatality rate was also relatively low. Yet, it placed 51st in economic growth.

Strengthening tourist visits have contributed to a more significant employment market and increased tax collections.

State authorities revealed last February 2022 that these have been helping Hawaii’s economy recover faster than predicted.

Throughout 2021, there were almost 7 million visitors in the state. This amounts to 65% more compared to 2019. And overall, tourists spent $13.0 billion.

Omicron caused a dramatic increase in cases in February 2022. But despite this, the travel and tourism industry continued to recover.

Hawaii’s recovery rate was already at 70% and 79% during January and February 2022, respectively.

aerial view of narrow gauge railroad

Railroads History of Hawaii

Rail transportation isn’t something you immediately picture when you think of Hawaii. But, there are still a few lines operating on the island.

Island railroads have been in operation since the late 1800s. Initially, they served to transport sugar canes from the plantations to the ports. From here, the sugar cane companies shipped to different markets. In most cases, these trains belonged to the sugar cane plantations.

Moreover, the first established tracks were not the conventional 4’8″ lines. Instead, they placed narrow gauges. The trains were also much shorter than those in North America and Europe.

A few years later, the Oahu Railway & Land Company came in. They were the first company to provide passenger service. Moreover, they built sugar cane transportation across Honolulu to Haleiwa and Kahuku. Benjamin F. Dillingham started the corporation, which grew to be Hawaii’s biggest railroad.

Railroads In Hawaii

As mentioned earlier, the island has no cargo, freight, or commuter trains. For now, there are just tourist trains that travel to the nation.

But, there are plans and ongoing construction for commuter trains.

There was a big railroad plan for the west O’ahu neighborhoods to the metropolitan. By now, the Oahu’s rail system should have been up and running. But the project is just about 60% constructed.

Honolulu negotiated a partnership with the Federal Transit Administration back in 2012. But, at the earliest, this $5.1 billion project won’t be functional until March of 2031.

There are 21 stops along the planned 20-mile rail route. The FTA estimates that the journey from East Kapolei to Ala Moana Center will take only 42 minutes. Ala Moan Center will also be about 16 minutes away from the Honolulu International Airport.

Furthermore, each station will have exciting features. These include escalators, vending machines, and bicycle racks. Trains are also planned to have free wifi with a 30 miles/hr speed.

The same source states the rail system will use renewable energy such as solar and wind power.

This will be a massive step for Hawaii if all goes well.

heritage tourist train

Where Can You Find Railroad Jobs in Hawaii?

In certain parts of Hawaii, trains that previously transported freight and people have reopened to the public.

Tourists can ride trains through the renowned sugar cane fields. Some trains pass along the seashore to experience the area’s heritage. These picturesque trips recall an earlier period in Hawaii when railroads were standard.

And thus, these are your most viable options if you’re trying to get railroad jobs in Hawaii.

Rail jobs by the state are available on our website if you seek comprehensive positions. Click here!

If you’re looking to give railroad jobs in Hawaii, here are some companies you can apply to. Let’s take a look at them by location:

Railroad Jobs in Hawaii: Oahu

Hawaiian Railway Society

The Hawaiian Railway Society runs a track once owned by the Oahu Railway and Land. This track was operational from 1889 to 1970.

Today, they are a non-profit educational association. The station devotes to sustaining Hawaii’s railroad heritage via preservation, restoration, and education.

The Society has already rebuilt approximately 6miles of the track. More are also in the pipeline.

Their two-hour round-trip journeys are thoroughly narrated and include a discussion of the route.

Besides hearing anecdotes about the OR&L’s history, passengers learn about the railroad’s usage in sugar fields. They also show you historic places like the Gilbert “ghost town” and a sisal farm.

The journey ends by halting the train for a few moments so passengers can take photos of the stunning ocean views.

People can use the picnic site and wander around the railroad yards to see the exhibit’s vintage engines and train carriages.

If you’d like to be a part of restoring their railroads, contact them by clicking here.

Pineapple Express

Oahu is home to the Pineapple Express. This is a train that travelers can ride to visit the Dole Plantation. A commentator tells the narrative of James Drummond Dole. They talk about the fruit dynasty he built in the very same area in the 20th century as the train travels past pineapple and banana farms.

Are you interested in working for the Pineapple Express? Click here to check out their website. Contact them for any employment opportunities.

tourist about to get in tourist train

Railroad Jobs in Hawaii: Kauai

Kauai Plantation Railway

One of the best ways to see the natural beauty of Kauai is to ride the plantation railway just outside Lihue.

There are still areas nearby where people work in the fields of Kilohana Plantation. And the railway passes right by them on its way around the loop. While traveling, passengers will see 50 different kinds of fruit. These include bananas, apples, avocados, mangoes, and pineapples.

Click here to contact them for any job opportunities.

Hop Aboard These Railroad Jobs in Hawaii

As you can see, there are not many conventional railroad jobs in Hawaii. But, you might land some great opportunities from these tourist trains.

There will be a lot of railroad jobs in Hawaii in the future because of their railroad expansion plans. So, that’s something to look forward to.

If you want to learn more about the railroad industry, you can click here.

Best of luck on your job search!

mother and daughter on tourist train

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a railway system on the island of Hawaii?

No freight or passenger railways serve the state of Hawaii at this time. Tourist trains are the only ones that run in Hawaii.

Does Hawaii’s Big Island have operational?

There is just one standard-gauge railway line in the state. It is the Hawaii Consolidated Railway, which runs on the Big Island of Hawaii. Hilo Railroad launched on March 28, 1899, to connect Olaa Sugar Mill to Waiakea along an 8-mile route.

Does Oahu have a railway network?

Oahu’s sugar train is what’s left of the Hawaiian Railway Society. It is a relic of the Oahu Railway & Land Company, established in 1889 by King David Kalakaua as part of a contract. Thousands of people got free rides on 11 trains on November 16. This date is also the King’s birthday when it first commenced operation.

Is the Honolulu rail completed?

Honolulu has a pending billion-dollar deal with the Federal Transit Administration. They signed this project back in 2012. But, the project’s costs have more than quadrupled since then. As of 2021, they predicted that the whole network won’t be functional before March 2031