If you decide to ride the Sugarcane Train (Maui with kids)


February 20, 2013 by admin

*Apparently this train is now closed.  Thank you Rick for letting me know and if anyone hears otherwise, please message me too!

We weren’t sure if we were going to do this one.  I couldn’t find a lot of information on it, and I wasn’t sure if it was a full length ride or if we had to get off somewhere or what exactly this Sugarcane Train was.  But, we have driven hours to ride a train in Monteverde  , and countless other trains around the country.  With two boys who actually like to ride trains, how could we not?


The beginning of the journey did not bode well.  We arrived about 15 minutes before the scheduled train and there was no one at the deserted station.


About 5 minutes before the train’s arrival people began to show up in hoards.  A bus-load of Japanese tourists on their way home was making this their last Maui stop.  A handful of families with small children and babies.  A set of newlyweds.  But still no ticket-taker and we began to worry if they would take credit cards (they do!) because we only had about 12 dollars on us.  When the station-master finally arrived, the child in front of us peed into his own shoes while his mom bought their tickets.  And the newlywed who did not see him pee saw him crying and started asking him about his Thomas crocs.  ‘I like your shoes” she said through his bawling.  The boy looked down at his wet feet and bawled louder.  The newlywed bends down and almost touches the pee shoes still not getting the situation.  “THOMAS-right?”


Thank goodness the train arrived.


For your information we started at the Puukolii station and from this station the train goes round trip.  It stops at Lahaina station for about ten minutes where you can get out and buy trinkets or snacks, take pictures of the engine or take your kid to the bathroom because the trip is about 45 minutes each way.  The train does not stop or pick up in Kanaapali (even though the website gives times for this station) and somewhere in between Kanaapali and Lahaina it may fill itself from the water station (exactly like a train would in Thomas the train) and little train fanatics find this absolutely amazing.  There is also a place on a bridge where the conductor will tell you it’s going to spray steam.


You definitely want to listen to which side it will spray so you can get a picture. Other than that the train goes through some golf-course areas, along a main road, through some back alleys where I noticed this coffee mill


and this giant silo filled with UREA??


My kids were pretty mesmerized and the hubby and I took the time to close our eyes a little bit.


I read somewhere that you should bring snacks and drinks for your kids because it is hot.  They guzzled through the juice boxes and waters we brought and loved these little ball snacks I found at Foodland.


I would also advise making sure your kids’ heads and hands stay in the train.  There are places where the foliage is very close to the tracks and my guys actually got whacked in the face by some leaf-branch so be careful.


The most magical part of this journey happened quite by accident.  When we arrived back at Pukoolii station, we wanted to get a picture of the kids up by the engine.  Then the engineer asked the guys if they wanted to see where the coal goes to heat the water.

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This was a real working steam engine.  Then he asked if they want to ring the bell and let the engine steam.  Pure awesome magic.

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I could see the guys re-living their favorite train book.  (This one is awesome if your guys like train parts, by the way.)

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So yes, it’s expensive, a little long and a little hot.  (We had coupons from a book we got with our stay at the Aston hotel-you might want to check around for some in the Hawaii weekly books.)  But my guys absolutely loved it and I’m definitely glad we went.


  1. […] rode the Dole Pineapple Express.  (PS. THAT song is about another ride-able Hawaiian train, the Sugar Cane Train on Maui, and our family’s favorite version of the song is by Manoa DNA.)  Anyways, we can’t go […]

  2. Rick says:

    The cane train shut down on Aug 1 2014. No signs at the north station. Waste of time and a sad 2 year old. Shame on them for closing it and leaving the message on their number.

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