Cape Cod Railroad

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cape Cod Railroad
Terminal and Dock, Woods Hole, Mass. - No. 10915.jpg
Cape Cod Railroad terminus in Woods Hole, Massachusetts
StatusCeased operation
LocaleCape Cod
TerminiBuzzards Bay
Woods Hole, Hyannis, Chatham, Provincetown
OwnerCape Cod Branch Railroad (renamed Cape Cod Railroad Company in 1854); later (1872) Old Colony Railroad
Operator(s)New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (1893–1964)
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Route map
Buzzards Bay
Beginning of Cape Cod
Gray Gables
Monument Beach
North Falmouth
West Falmouth
Woods Hole
Bournedale (North Sandwich)
West Barnstable
Pond Village
Camp Station
Old Hyannis
Hyannis Transportation Center
Bass River
South Dennis
North Harwich
South Harwich
West Chatham
South Chatham
Pleasant Lake
East Brewster
South Eastham
North Eastham
South Wellfleet
South Truro
Corn Hill
North Truro
Provincetown Railroad Wharf

The Cape Cod Railroad was a railroad in southeastern Massachusetts. It was incorporated in 1846 as the Cape Cod Branch Railroad to provide a rail link from the Fall River Railroad line in Middleborough to Cape Cod.

Cape Cod Branch Railroad, 1846–1853[edit]

Among the proponents of the Cape Cod Branch Railroad were Col. Richard Borden of Fall River, who saw the new line as an opportunity to bring more traffic and business through his hometown. He was at one time president of the Bay State Steamboat Company, which together with the Old Colony Railroad formed the noted "Fall River Line". He was later elected president of the Cape Cod Railroad.[1]

On January 26, 1848, the first 14.7-mile (23.7 km) segment of the railroad was opened between Middleborough and Wareham. By May 1848 an additional 12.9 miles (20.8 km) was opened to Sandwich, enabling unimpeded transit between Boston and Sandwich, thus serving the needs of the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company. In 1853, the extension of the line to Hyannis was started, reaching West Barnstable on December 22, 1853.

Cape Cod Railroad, 1854–1872[edit]

On February 22, 1854, the Cape Cod Branch Railroad was renamed the Cape Cod Railroad Company.[2] In the spring of 1854, construction continued, with the railroad reaching Barnstable village May 8, Yarmouth Port May 19, and finally Hyannis on July 8, 1854.[3] Connecting steamboat service to Nantucket commenced from Hyannis in late September and would continue until 1872.


In 1868, the Cape Cod Railroad acquired the Cape Cod Central Railroad (1861–68), which had opened a line from Yarmouth to Orleans in 1865.[4]

In 1871, the Cape Cod Railroad bought the Plymouth and Vineyard Sound Railroad – which had been incorporated in 1861 as the Vineyard Sound Railroad Company intending to build a line from Buzzards Bay to Woods Hole. However, the road to Woods Hole was not completed until July 1872, after the merger with the Cape Cod Railroad. Upon completion of that road, the steamboat service to Nantucket moved to Woods Hole.[4]

Old Colony Railroad, 1872–1893[edit]

By this time, the Cape Cod Railroad had merged with the Old Colony and Newport Railway to form a new company, renamed the Old Colony Railroad. The Cape Cod routes became known as the "Cape Cod Division" of the Old Colony Railroad, with its headquarters in Hyannis.[5]

With much fanfare, the Old Colony Railroad completed the line to Provincetown in July 1873.[6]

New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, 1893–1959[edit]

The lines of the Cape Cod Railroad became part of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad (NYNH&H) in 1893, when it leased the entire Old Colony Railroad network. The NYNH&H ended daily passenger service to southeastern Massachusetts and the Cape in 1959. The railroad did, however, restore the popular seasonal rail service from New York, with connections from Boston, during the 1960 through 1964 summer seasons.

The New Haven's passenger service to Cape Cod was operated under a number of different names, including and Day Cape Codder, the Night Cape Codder, the Neptune, the Islander, and the Flying Dude.[7]


A Cape Cod Railroad excursion train and the Cape Codder at West Barnstable in 1995

Between 1986 and 1996, Amtrak operated the Cape Codder during summer weekends from New York City to Hyannis.

Beginning in 1989, the Bay Colony Railroad operated seasonal heritage railroad excursions from Hyannis to Sagamore under the Cape Cod Railroad brand. In 1999, the Cape Cod Central Railroad began operating the service.[8]

Seasonal CapeFLYER service by the CCRTA and MBTA began in 2013.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Fisher, Charles Eben (1919). The story of the Old Colony railroad. C.A. Hack & son, inc., printers. p. 35. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  2. ^ Report of the Board of Railroad Commissioners, Feb 15, 1911, page 415
  3. ^ Homans, Isaac Smith (1855). "Operations of the railways of Massachusetts, 1854". Hunt's Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review. Freeman Hunt. 1855: 506. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  4. ^ a b Fisher (1919), p. 34.
  5. ^ Fisher (1919), pp. 36, 69.
  6. ^ Fisher (1919), p. 44.
  7. ^ Farson, Robert (1990). Cape Cod Railroads. Cape Cod Historical Publications. pp. 258–262. ISBN 0-9616740-1-6.
  8. ^ Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. p. 341. ISBN 0942147022.