The new owner of a now-closed Maui train ride through former sugar cane fields hopes to be shouting “All Aboard!” before long.
The Sugar Cane Train welcomed its last visitors Aug. 1, when the former owners announced plans to sell the engines and cars and tear up the six miles of track between Lahaina and Kaanapali.
“They cited business reasons,” new owner Craig Hill, a West Maui businessman, told me. “It was no longer profitable for them.”
Hill said he stepped in at the last minute, just as the line was about to be scrapped.
“I purchased the train,” he said, “with the intent to repair it and bring it back to its original glory.”
The railroad opened in 1970. Through the decades, the colorful steam engine and open-air cars hauled more than 5 million passengers.
Hill said he expects the reopening to be “sometime in the coming year” but doesn’t yet have a firm date.
He doesn’t expect the train to be a pot of gold at the end of a Maui rainbow. “I don’t think it’s going to be a highly profitable venture for me,” Hill said. “I believe it’s good for Maui. I believe it’s good for the tourists.”
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