Cape Codder (train)

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Cape Codder
Cape Codder at Buzzards Bay, July 1996.jpg
The Cape Codder at Buzzards Bay in July 1996
Service type Inter-city rail
Status Discontinued
Locale New York, Connecticut, Rhode
, Massachusetts
Predecessor Day Cape Codder
First service July 3, 1986
Last service September 29, 1996
Former operator(s) Amtrak
Start New York City
Stops 8
End Hyannis, Massachusetts
Distance travelled 264 miles (425 km)
Average journey time 6 hours 28 minutes
Service frequency Weekly
Train number(s) 234/235
On-board services
Class(es) Reserved coach and Club Service
Catering facilities On-board cafe
Rolling stock Amfleet coaches
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)

The Cape Codder was a seasonal passenger train operated by Amtrak between New York City and Hyannis, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. It operated during the summer between 1986 and 1996. It was the first regular service from New York to the Cape since 1964.

From its demise in 1996 there was no passenger rail service to Cape Cod until the beginning of the summer of 2013 when the MBTA's CapeFLYER began connecting Boston's South Station to Barnstable and Hyannis.


The Cape Codder used the Northeast Corridor to Attleboro, Massachusetts, where it split to reach Cape Cod
The Cape Codder at Buzzards Bay, with an ex-New Haven Railroad RS-1 leading, in July 1990

Regular service was suspended from 1941 to 1948, owing to World War II.[1] The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad ran combined through trains with the Pennsylvania Railroad from Washington to Hyannis until 1958. The Day Cape Codder and Neptune combined to provide service six days per week July–September, with the Day Cape Codder operating all days except Wednesday and Friday and the Neptune operating on Fridays only. The trains ran from New York to Hyannis, with a section splitting at Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts for Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Passengers coming from Boston connected in Providence, Rhode Island. The New Haven Railroad stopped serving Cape Cod altogether in 1964.[2]:109–110

Amtrak launched the Cape Codder on July 3, 1986. The original schedule included four trains weekly: trains from New York to Hyannis on Friday evening (#272) and Saturday morning (#270), and trains from Hyannis to New York on Saturday (#271) and Sunday afternoon (#273). Amtrak advertised the service as "Washington–New York–Hyannis", although only #272 originated in Washington. All other connections required a connecting train. The train operated through September and featured "Club Service: Deluxe reserved seating. Beverages and complimentary meals served at your seat.".[3][4]

For the 1988 season Amtrak established connections with the Cape Cod and Hyannis Railroad, a tourist railroad which in partnership with Massachusetts offered daily service from Boston to the Cape, originating at the Braintree MBTA station. Amtrak passengers coming off the Northeast Corridor could be through-ticketed destinations on the Cape and would change to Cape Cod and Hyannis train at Attleboro. Separate sections served Hyannis and Falmouth. This service supplemented the weekend Cape Codder, once again providing daily service to the Cape.[5] This interline service did not resume in 1989 after the Cape Cod and Hyannis Railroad folded.[6] Amtrak service to Attleboro ended at the same time.[7] Massachusetts provided financial support for the trains from 1986-1988.[8]

Beginning in 1989 Amtrak truncated the Saturday round-trip to Providence with a scheduled connection to another train; this round-trip was named Clamdigger for the 1990 season and given new numbers (#433 westbound and #438 eastbound). The Friday/Sunday train pair became #234/#235.[9] By 1993 the Saturday service was gone and the Friday/Sunday pair operated to New York only, with connections south.[10] For its final season in 1996 the Cape Codder originated in Boston, ran down the Northeast Corridor to Providence, then turned and ran east to Hyannis. Service from Washington and New York was available via a connecting train in Providence.[11]

Amtrak did not resume the Cape Codder for the 1997 season. The limited schedule, coupled with the fact that passengers found it difficult to navigate the Cape without an automobile, discouraged potential passengers. The service carried just 1,200 passengers in 1996, representing a 50% drop from 1995.[12]

Since its demise in 1996, were periodic discussions about reinstating passenger rail service from Boston to reduce car traffic to and from the Cape, with officials in Bourne seeking to extend MBTA Commuter Rail service from Middleboro to Buzzards Bay.[13] Scheduled passenger service between Boston and Hyannis resumed in May 2013 with the inauguration of the CapeFLYER, a collaboration between the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and it was made permanent in the 2014 summer season after a successful trial run during the first year.

See also[edit]


  2. ^ Lynch, Peter E. (2003). New Haven Railroad. Voyageur Press. 
  3. ^ Amtrak (July 3, 1986). "Metroliner and Cape Codder timetable, 1986". Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  4. ^ Wren, Patricia (July 5, 1986). "TIES RENEWED ON N.Y.-CAPE TRAIN RIDE". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 
  5. ^ Kolleth, Michael (May 29, 1988). "Daily Rail Service to Cape Is Returning". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  6. ^ Ackerman, Jerry (July 5, 1989). "MASS. SPENT $1.2M ON DEPOTS WHERE TRAINS NOW SELDOM GO". Boston Globe  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  7. ^ Saltzman, Jonathan (June 25, 1989). "Trains to the Cape don't stop in Attleboro anymore". Providence Journal. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  8. ^ Belcher, Jonathan (May 24, 2013). "Changes to Transit Service in the MBTA district" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  9. ^ Amtrak (1 April 1991). "National Train Timetables". Museum of Railway Timetables. p. 27. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  10. ^ Amtrak (2 May 1993). "Northeast Timetable". Museum of Railway Timetables. p. 38. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  11. ^ Amtrak (14 April 1996). "Northeast Timetable". Museum of Railway Timetables. p. 26. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  12. ^ "Amtrak cancels NYC-Cape Cod train". The Standard-Times. New Bedford. Associated Press. May 11, 1997. Retrieved 2012-07-03. 
  13. ^ The Cape and Islands NPR Station - Cape Cod Rail Connection

Further reading[edit]

  • Nelligan, Tom (October 1986). "Cape Cod Rail Revival". Trains. 46 (12): 18–18A. ISSN 0041-0934. 

External links[edit]