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Railroads To Cape Cod


If required, we have updated the new WebPage

Cape Cod is Finally Going to Town

Penney Vanderbilt covers the new Cape Code rail service starting in 2013

Getting to the Cape

No, you couldn't take a train to Cape Cod for quite a while, but see 2013 story above

Yes, you used to be able to take a train to Cape Cod for a lot of years and now it isback

Even Amtrak used to run to Cape Cod

Now you will be able to take a train to Cape Cod

See the other options below:


Sounds pretty easy doesn't it? Mapquest will show you in a minute. Only problem is there are only two bridges and they both get flooded with cars in the summer. Even the roads on the Cape get choked. Why spoil your weekend/vacation with that aggrevation?


Bus schedules: see the companies below:

Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Company



Cape Cod Web has a flight planner.
or see the companies below:

Cape Air


Yes, you can bring your own boat or get a charter from Boston or Plymouth.
or see the companies on this page:

Bay State Cruise Company
cape cod railroads
Cape Cod Regional Planning
Cape Cod Windmill
Cheap Airfares
affiliate_link Major Golfing

We are working on our list of Golf Hotels and Resorts

Some of these are well known because of PGA Tour events held there. Pinehurst; The Greenbrier; and Pebble Beach certainly belong in this catagory. Others are located in towns with even more than golf as an attraction. In this Category is The Otesaga in Cooperstown, New York; Basin Harbor Club on Lake Champlain.
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Welcome to our Cape Cod Railroad WebSite

Here's a preview of some of the exciting projects we have put together for you:

Sample Our feature article: "The Railroad to Cape Cod" .

See Cape Cod Railroads (and golf courses) on Google Earth .

Check out our reference section and see railroad updates in 2006 .

Find out about visiting Cape Cod and don't miss "If you go to the Cape"

See our features and pictures of the Cape Cod Bridge (and WebCam), old Cape Cod Rails , fish trains .
Not only can you search hotels by city, but you can search by your favorite chain of hotels. Find a hotel room in Nice, Cannes, or Monaco,.

Find out about Dreams and Fairpromise

Railroads To Cape Cod

One of the most interesting locations that railroads have been built to is Cape Cod. The road that operated to CapeCod was part of the New York, New Haven & Hartford. Any D&H fan who objects to stories about the New Haven in a Delaware & Hudson magazine had very quickly review the history of the two roads to understand the close financial relationship and the many interlocking directors.

The railroad era came to Cape Cod in 1848 when a road was built from Middleboro on the mainland to Sandwich on the Cape. It was built primarily to serve the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. The Cape Cod Railroad extended itself to Hyannis in 1854 and after the Civil War the Cape Cod Central Railroad went on to Orleans and Wellfleet. It was taken over by the Old Colony RR in 1872 which extended the line to Provincetown in 1873 and pushed tracks into Woods Hole. The New Haven Railroad leased the Old Colony in 1893. The glass company only lasted until the 1880's, but other industry supported freight service. Passenger service became important by the end of the 19th Century as the Cape became a resort area.

Provincetown tracks ended in the center of town at a large wharf. There was also a freight shed at the front of the wharf. Fish trains were loaded there and cars went all over the country. Double tracks went to the shed and a single track to the end of the wharf. The station and some storage tracks were in the center of town and a spur track about a mile away served to turn locomotives. The wharf is gone and the tracks paved over, but some traces of the yard can still be found. A spur at North Truro went right onto the sand dunes and was used to load sand cars for several glass factories.

After the Civil War, two trains a day ran to Middleboro where there were connections to Boston. Until 1918, there was a summer weekend train called the "Dude Train". It left Boston's South Station and ran to Woods Hole where it connected with the Martha's Vineyard steamer. By World War I, there were ten daily trains from Boston. Trains also ran from Fall River and there were several shuttle trains on the Cape. Engine changes at Buzzards Bay were common. From Buzzards Bay, trains went to either Provincetown or Woods Hole.

Through the 1920's, rail was the main form of transportation on the Cape. Even during the winter, there were two trains from Boston to Provincetown. Hyannis had two trains and Woods Hole three. Shuttle activity included trains to Chatham over a branch constructed by the Chatham Railroad. Good passenger traffic continued right into the Depression with the only changes being more Hyannis and less Provincetown trains. Strong rail service resulted in the demand for a better rail bridge to the Cape.

Is there a more majestic train bridge than the one that spans the Cape Cod canal? It was built during the Depression by a powerful railway which served a popular and growing Cape Cod. Even so, the bridge was late in the history of Cape Cod rail travel.

By 1938, air-conditioned trains to Cape Cod were introduced but service beyond Yarmouth was shuttle-only. The branch from Harwich to Chatham was abandoned and through trains to Woods Hole were dropped in favor of connections from Buzzards Bay. Trains to Provincetown became an on again off again service. By 1951, Budd RDC's took over winter duties with such trains as the "Cranberry Special" (led by a bright red diesel) summer-only.

Specials to Cape Cod ran from New York also. The "Cape Codder" and the "Neptune" became even more popular when Fall River steamers to Manhattan ended in 1938. The "Neptune" went to Hyannis but dropped cars for Woods Hole at Buzzards Bay. The "Cape Codder" began in 1926 and was an overnighter.

The late 1950's saw a sharp decline in passenger travel as automobiles became more popular (the Bourne and Sagamore bridges to Cape Cod were no where as overloaded as they are today). Specials from New York were dropped in 1959 but revived out of Grand Central until 1964. Boston service was dropped when the Neponset River Bridge burned in 1960.

Tracks from Eastham to Provincetown were removed in 1960 and then cut back to South Dennis in 1966. Much of this line is a bike path. The Hyannis roundhouse is a nightclub. Track from Falmouth to Woods Hole were abandoned and the rail yard turned into a ferry parking lot. Both freight and passenger service continue to the Cape. Even Amtrak runs weekend specials.

By Ken Kinlock at

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Updates on Cape Cod Rails for 2006

This year the Cape Cod Central Railroad got some new owners. Hopefully rail service will get better.

Are the new owners interested in restoring passenger service to Braintree or even Boston? We used to have it, back when it was called the Cape Cod & Hyannis Railroad. Be great to have Boston-Hyannis service. I do not think any private operation out of Hyannis will be permitted to go beyond Middleboro, too many operating conditions will likely prevent it. It would be a shuttle from the Middleboro/Lakeville MBCR station, and then synchronize the schedule with the MBTA trains so that passengers can transfer to and take the Hyannis extension. This service would find passengers. Even if a two-seat ride to BOS is time-equivalent to driving, the time spent aboard could otherwise be productive. Yes a one-seat ride would be nice. First a diner then maybe a parlor car? How cool would it be riding an open platform parlor car to the Cape on a sultry Friday afternoon!

The reason for Bay Colony giving up the South Dennis track is the rapidly-deteriorating Bass River bridge. The abutments date back to the 1880's and would be far too costly to repair.

Keep hearing about maybe Amtrak or MBTA should run service to the Cape. Amtrak does not have to be involved in service to the Cape but in order for a passenger to have a one seat ride between New York and Hyannis, Amtrak would very definately need to be involved. An across the platform transfer at Providence could be done but a through train or trains would be much for the riders of such a service.

Don't think we will ever return to the New Haven RR days when there would be two different trains leaving about 30 minutes apart from Hyannis, one for Boston and one for New York and the old downtown station would be a literal madhouse with buses on one side and trains on the other. Three open ticket windows with long lines of people buying tickets and the crews calling out "Boston train on your right, New York train on your left".

Its nice to say that the train must match the bus time from Boston. But I can't remember ever seeing a flying bus, and that would be needed to get around the huge traffic jams coming to the cape!

By Ken Kinlock at
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Cape Cod Web All Cape
Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce

Updates on Cape Cod Rails for 2007

Bring back seasonal passenger rail service to Cape Cod!

Seasonal rail service to Cape Cod is an essential component of any serious plan to improve off-Cape transit.

The Cape's Transportation Problem

What about public transportation?

Will seasonal passenger rail service to the Cape work?

Would it be expensive to restore rail service?

What do we propose?

Can I help?

The Cape's Transportation Problem

Anyone who has visited the Cape during the warmer months, particularly on weekends, knows the traffic is horrendous. Unfortunately, we can't pave our way out of the gridlock. Building an expensive new bridge over the canal would just move the traffic bottlenecks onto the Cape. Widening the Mid-Cape Highway and Route 28 would only serve to push the traffic jams further down the Cape. The Cape simply does not have the room to handle an ever-increasing number of automobiles.

On 10/4/2007, a Massachusetts short line won a state contract to operate freight-rail lines.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Public Works recently awarded a 10-year contract to Massachusetts Coastal Railroad L.L.C. to operate state-owned freight-rail lines totaling 60 miles.

The contract includes options to extend the operating pact beyond 2018. On Jan. 1, the railroad will begin operating the lines, which include a segment between Middleboro and Hyannis; branches to Yarmouth and Falmouth; and routes into Taunton, North Dartmouth and Westport.

Massachusetts Coastal Railroad is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cape Rail Inc. A railroad management and holding company, Cape Rail also owns Cape Cod Central Railroad, which provides passenger, excursion and dinner train services.
Head End
Railway Express and Railway Post Office

Reefer on the New Haven

On passenger trains, railroads operated lots of equipment other than sleepers, coaches, dining cars, etc. This equipment was generally called 'head-end' equipment, these 'freight' cars were at one time plentiful and highly profitable for the railroads. In the heyday of passenger service, these industries were a big part of the railroad's operations, and got serious attention.
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Cape Cod Central Railroad

Cape Cod Rails

Remains of the New Haven's activities on Cape Cod past South Dennis are not too evident any more. One piece of evidence I have seen of the railroad is at the Truro General Store, where a cement post with 'W' inscribed in it still stands. The track through Wellfleet and Truro was abandoned in 1960, when the New Haven cut back to North Eastham. The right of way used to be visible in many places, including just north and south of Wellfleet center. In the late 1960's in Truro-Wellfleet it was a long rural walk and railroad artifacts still existed (ties, crossing signs, etc). In Provincetown the ROW was still very evident and a favorite area for wandering people to take a stroll with a sleeping bag and sleep overnight. From Provincetown southbound the ROW went through 'shifting sand dune" territory so it disappeared quickly. You can still trace the ROW through Wellfleet. From the crossing at Rte 6, near Bay Sales, it goes northwest towards town and you can see the remnants of the old bridge near the long gone oyster houses. From there it goes through the parking lot of the Lobster Pot restaurant, crosses Commercial St. and curves right round the back of the Bradford Apartments building. The cut there is pretty well filled in but traces of the ROW are still visible from the back road to the landfill. It crosses the highway a number of times all the way to Truro and at Pamet Harbor the remnants of the old bridge as well as the ROW are still visible. The track between South Dennis and North Eastham (called Hastings by the NH) lasted until 1965. Sand was the main business, and a train ran a couple times a week. Orleans had a freight station staffed by an agent right up to the end. The abandoned ROW from present end of track at South Dennis (Rt. 134 crossing) as far as South Wellfleet (Lecount Hollow Rd. crossing)--- about 25 miles! --- is a paved bikeway. Beyond there it is overgrown. It is, and has been for a while, the dream of a number of Cape Cod individuals and organizations to finish the bikeway the remaining distance to Provincetown. This is easy to do in some places, but not in others, as there are some encroachments on the ROW.

To put some of these places in perspective: Yarmouth mileage 0.00; South Dennis 5.61; Hastings 24.11; Provincetown 44.23.

For more information on Cape Cod, visit Cape Cod Rails.
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The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad

See some historic photographs of the New Haven Railroad, Steam along the shore line, electrics through Connecticut, passenger runs into Grand Central, and much more.
New England Gateway, The New
Penn Central New Haven Railroad New York Central Railroad Interested in Penn Central? New York Central? Pennsylvania Railroad? New Haven Railroad? or in the smaller Eastern US railroads? Then you will be interested in "What if the Penn Central Merger Did Not Happen". You will also enjoy "Could George Alpert have saved the New Haven?" as well as "What if the New Haven never merged with Penn Central?"

Signal Stations of the
New Haven Railroad

Signal Stations of the New Haven Railroad

Includes New Haven speed limits and trackage rights
Also sections on Bridgeport and
State Line interchange


List of Massachusetts Railroads

Cape Cod

Trains America

Cape Cod Traveler Information

Welcome to Cape Cod Rails

Live Web Cams on Cape Cod

The Railroad Comes To Provincetown

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If you have "GOOGLE EARTH©" installed on your computer, you can "fly" these routes with these "PLACEMARKs"
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George Alpert. Last President of the New Haven Railroad. Talking with Albert Einstein at Brandeis University
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Quay construction May 2006 Saint-Jerome, Quebec

Bike Trails Along Railroads

Throughout the United States and Canada, there are numerous bicycle trails that either run alongside existing railroads or run on the abandoned right-of-way of a railroad.

In Québec, the longest one, the "P'tit Train du Nord" runs for 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Saint-Jérôme to Mount-Laurier on an abandoned Canadian Pacific route.

South of Saint-Jérôme, this route continues to Blainville alongside what will become a busy rail commuter line. Photo above shows its route past the new intermodal terminal at Saint-Jérôme.
In Central New York State, a great trail runs on the former Troy & Schenectady branch of the New York Central Railroad.

Further downstate, abandoned portions of the New York Central's Putnam Division and Harlem Division are now bike trails.

Part of the Wallkill Valley branch of the West Shore is a bike trail.

Cape Cod has a scenic trail on what was once the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad.

Along Lake Ontario shore, a portion of the old Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad is a trail now.

This is only a small sample. There are LOTS MORE!

Photo Copyright © 2006 Ken Kinlock
Cape Cod Bridge

Cape Cod Bridge

Click on picture to see a great site about this famous bridge
Amtrak's Secret Business Amtrak's Secret Business

WebCams of Hyannis Harbor, Bourne Rotary, Sagamore Bridge, Provinvetown and others

Webcams of Martha's Vineyard, Wellfleet, Chatham

Cape Cod Bridge at Buzzards Bay Woods Hole Early 1900s

Here's a picture of the Cape Cod Bridge at Buzzards Bay.

From our postcard collection.

This is Woods Hole in the early 1900's

From our postcard collection.
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If You Go to the Cape

If you go to Cape Cod, there are a lot of places you just can't miss.

Here's a partial (and we mean partial) list:

Ice cream from Sundae School in East Orleans tastes good any time of year and on every sort of occasion.

The Wellfleet Drive-In Movie Theater. WOW, here's a "blast from the past! There's a dairy bar complete with burgers, ice cream and root beer floats, a playground and a miniature golf course. By day, the grounds frequently host flea markets and art shows.

Miniature golf courses. Kids and adults can both play the game, and there's room for all skill levels.

Cape Cod Highland Lighthouse in Truro. Originally built in 1797, the Highland Lighthouse is the tallest on the Cape. It was reconstructed in 1857, automated in 1986 and moved back from an eroding cliff in 1996. And it welcomes visitors!

Art in Provincetown. Ranging from fine art to paintings at small galleries.

Roadside food stands like Cobie's Clam Shack in Brewster.

Cape Cod Baseball League. This amateur league, established in 1885, shows off baseball in that wholesome, idyllic way that reminds you why it's America's favorite pastime.

The Cape Cod National Seashore.

Nickerson State Park in Brewster consists of 1,900 acres of woods right in between the Cape's sandy shores. There's not a sand dune or salty marsh in sight. Camping, bicycling, canoeing and catch-and-release fishing are all ways to spend the day.

Every Friday evening at 8:00pm from June 30 to September 1 all roads on the Cape lead to the band concert in Kate Gould Park on Main Street in Chatham. As many as six thousand people attend these concerts, and it will be one of the highlights of your summer on the Cape. There will be musical numbers by the band, folk dances for the children, dance numbers for grownups and community singing for everyone.
Northeast Corridor

Railroads On The Rebound

High Speed Rail
Over the last 50+ years, railroads have changed a lot. Now they are about to change again.

It is all about a combination of economic factors and climate factors.

Since 1950 , railroads have consolidated. Freight moved from a "box car mentality" to a "unit train,mentality". Passenger went from a robust business to a "caretaker" arrangement called AMTRAK. This happened as everybody could drive for free on the Interstate Highway System or fly on an airline system where the government subsidized both airlines and airports. In the meantime, railroad express and railroad post offices went "down the tubes". The old Post Office Department and the Railway Express Agency could not adjust to the new way. UPS and Fex Ex could.
Carbon Calculator
What's the most environmentally-friendly way to transport goods? The answer is freight rail. The EPA estimates that every ton-mile of freight that moves by rail instead of by highway reduces greenhouse emissions by two-thirds. But what does that really mean? Our easy-to-use carbon calculator will estimate the amount of carbon dioxide that can be prevented from entering our environment just by using freight rail instead of trucks. We'll even tell you how many seedlings you'd need to plant to have the same effect.

Fish Trains

The tracks in Provincetown ran right down to and on the wharf. The museum in the Pilgrim Monument in P'town has pictures of cars being loaded on this pier.

Fish trains from Boston, Providence and New London to ran on the New Haven Railroad to Harlem River freight terminal in New York City and connection to the Pensylvania Railroad via Bay Ridge. Fish from Provincetown ran to Providence for connection to these trains.

Fruit Grower's Express provided refrigerator cars to the New Haven for fish.
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Provincetown Railroad Station in 1900

Here's a picture of the end of the line and station at Provincetown in 1900.

From our postcard collection.
Chatham Rail Museum

Here's a picture of the Chatham Rail Museum.

From our postcard collection.
Our HAND TOOL WebSite is intended in aiding you to locate HAND TOOL suppliers. You may search by product or by manufacturer. We add both products and manufacturers, so keep checking back. In addition we are a full service MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operational Supplies) supplier. If you are in the construction or farming business, we are your source. Chatham Light
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See KC Jones BLOG about Railroad History We cover New York Central, New Haven Railroad and other Eastern Railroads. Penney Vanderbilt and KC Jones See Penney Vanderbilt BLOG about Golf and Vacations, especially on the French Riviera We have a lot about Nice, France. Not only do we cover golf on the French Riviera, but also Northwest France, Quebec, Golf Hotels and THE US Open
Short Lines
All about short lines we have not covered elsewhere. Some in Connecticut, others in New York. Some are New York Central properties.
More railway stations you will enjoy. Stations on the Housatonic Line. Maps of railway stations. Railway stations along the old Central New England Railway.
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