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Aloha Railroads

The Oahu Railway and Land Company, or OR&L, was a narrow gauge railroad that served much of the Hawaiian island of Oahu until 1947.  Built to transport the region’s sugar cane, the railroad also helped the development of Waikiki and served the major military bases, including Pearl Harbor.  In fact, the OR&L became a major player in wartime transportation during World War II.  Unfortunately, a large tsunami and striking sugar workers sealed the railroad’s fate, and it made its last run on December 31, 1947.  While there are no longer any freight railroads in Hawaii, its influence lives on today. It is alleged that the steel guitar was invented by Joseph Kekuku when he picked up a railroad spike and slid it along the strings of his guitar while walking beside the railroad in the 1880s.