Car 57, Where Are You?
By Jeff Livingston, Historian
9 October 1941
Fred Stindt Photograph, Hawaiian Railway Society Collection
18 March 2011
Jeff Livingston Photograph, Hawaiian Railway Society Collection
Coach No. 57 is one of ten "excursion" cars (Nos. 54 - 63) built by the Oahu Railway and Land Company in their Iwilei car shops. Construction was authorized under General Manager's Order No. 173 dated 29 January 1921 at a cost of $2,250.00 each. Five were completed in 1921 and placed in service with the remaining five completed in 1922. Although classified simply as "coaches" under the Interstate Commerce Commission reporting requirements then in effect, these cars were considered "2nd Class Coaches" by the OR&L as they had plain wooden seats and spare interior appointments. During World War Two these cars became known as "Commuter Coaches" as they were used extensively, along with most all the OR&L passenger equipment, in daily service between Pearl Harbor and Honolulu. Following abandonment of the OR&L main line on 31 December 1947 these and most all OR&L equipment became excess and offered for sale. No. 57 was one of fifteen OR&L passenger cars sold for $300.00 each to the United States Army Air Force in March 1948 for use at Hickam Army Air Field which was providing "on base only" commuter service at least to 1949. Through unknown means the U.S. Navy acquired No. 57 and placed it in service at Naval Magazine Lualualei. No. 57 was one of a number of pieces of Hawaiian railroad equipment purchased by Mr. Hal Wilmunder in the late 1960ís for use on his "Camino, Cable & Northern" private tourist railroad. Acquired by the Hawaiian Railway Society in 1974, No. 57 returned to Hawaii and Lualualei where the Society's operations were then located. No. 57 is the only one of her type remaining.
Through the generous support of Ms. Suzanne Avina of Santa Clara CA. who is the primary sponsor of No. 57 and the efforts of Mr. John DeYeso, the car is finally receiving the attention it deserves. Disassembly of the car is in progress with each piece removed fully documented in John's drawings and photographs. Once the floor and platforms are removed No. 57 will be inverted and placed on level supports in the maintenance building. New lumber to replace the rotted side sills, truss planks and wall headers has been ordered. These pieces of lumber, each 44 feet long are expected to arrive in June of this year. The original center and intermediate wood sills of No. 57 will be reused. Current plans project the completion of the frame by the end of this year. Following restoration/rebuilding to her original condition No. 57 will be placed in limited passenger service.