Huge mahalo to Hawaiian Railway Society for hosting our Shaka film shoot this past Saturday at their train yard and museum in Ewa, and mahalo to KoHana Rum for providing sugarcane sticks. If you haven’t been on a sugarcane train ride before, it’s super fun and rich with the history of Hawaii’s railroads and plantations. In the planation days, railways ran all over Hawaii, on all islands as they we instrumental to making the sugarcane industry viable. The human effort and amount of equipment it took to make railroads on an island 2,500 miles away from any continent simply boggles the mind.
Sugarcane Trains & The Shaka
What do sugarcane trains have to do with the Shaka? Check out our upcoming documentary and find out. What we can share is that sugarcane trains were steam engines. The modern engine that pulls the current day train isn’t steam, so we had to recreate the look of billowing steam from an old school engine with fog and smoke machines. That meant a series of shots like smoke-stacks, engine cars, moving wheels, and kids running, all of which will hopefully link up to create a locomotive story from the past.
We also shot some epic interviews around the yard as it turns out every person on site proved to be a train nerd. They knew everything about the lines, who owned them, how they were built, the exact engines that ran on each line and what became of them. At one point, historian Jeff Livingston gave us a demo of how cars are hitched. It’s dangerous work in which many people got injured. Here’s some behind-the-scenes shots: