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Railroads of Cape Cod and the Islands

Railroads of Cape Cod and the Islands
by Andrew T. Eldredge

Paperback: 128 pages
Arcadia Publishing - 2003
Now in its Fourth Printing!

Chapters:
  1. Buzzards Bay to Hyannis
  2. Yarmouth to Orleans
  3. Orleans to Provincetown
  4. The Woods Hole Branch
  5. The Chatham Branch
  6. Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
  7. Modern Railroads of Cape Cod

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The following are just a few samples of the 220 photographs which appear in Railroads of Cape Cod and the Islands:

Chapter 1 - Buzzards Bay to Hyannis

Tower Construction at Buzzards Bay, 1911
Tower Construction at Buzzards Bay, 1911.  Workmen pose for a photograph during construction of the interlocking tower.  The tower still controls daily train movements.  (Courtesy of the Bourne Archives.)
The Railroad Wharf at Hyannis Port, 1900
The Railroad Wharf at Hyannis Port, 1900.  The Cape Cod Railroad constructed this 1,000-foot wharf into Nantucket Sound in 1854.  The wharf served to connect the passenger ferries from Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard with the railroad until 1872, when the Woods Hole branch opened and the ferries went there instead.  However, this wharf continued to serve other shipping until 1931.  The 1.2-mile rail line between the wharf and downtown Hyannis was formally abandoned by the New Haven in 1937, and Old Colony Boulevard now occupies most of the right-of-way.  (Courtesy of Howard Goodwin.)

Chapter 2 - Yarmouth to Orleans

Posing at Harwich, the 1890s
Posing at Harwich, the 1890s.  Engine crew members of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad No. 670, a 4-4-0 American type (renumbered in 1904 to 2019) pose at Harwich while awaiting their next assignment.  This locomotive was regularly assigned to service on the Chatham branch.  (Courtesy of Howard Goodwin.)
The Harwich Station, 1887
The Harwich Station, 1887.  With the completion of the Chatham branch in 1887, Harwich was home to four railroad stations, including this one at the junction of that branch.  Of particular interest in this photograph is the square water tank adjacent to the station, with a windmill on top.  The windmill operated a water pump to fill the water tank.  (Courtesy of Howard Goodwin.)

Chapter 3 - Orleans to Provincetown

The Provincetown Railroad Wharf
The Provincetown Railroad Wharf.  A few freight cars are sitting on the wharf at Provincetown in this postcard view.  Note the abundance of sailboats in the harbor.  Both freight and passenger trains used this wharf.  (Author's Collection.)

Chapter 4 - The Woods Hole Branch.

The Pocasset Station, August 4, 1929
The Pocasset Station, August 4, 1929.  This photograph captures the third and final station at Pocasset.  It was built in 1915 to replace the previous structure (which burned) and remained until 1960, when it was demolished.  A corner of the freight house is also visible to the left.  (Photograph by Louis H. Benton, courtesy of Howard Goodwin.)
Woods Hole, 1902
Woods Hole, 1902.  The importance of the railroad to the village of Woods Hole can be seen in this photograph.  The turntable to the left was still in use, but the roundhouse it served was gone.  The sidewheel steamer Nantucket is docked at the wharf, and this view gives a good perspective of the convenience for passengers transferring between rail and boat.  Today, this area provides asphalt parking lots for the island ferries.  (Courtesy of Howard Goodwin.)

Chapter 5 - The Chatham Branch

The Chatham Railroad Station
The Chatham Railroad Station.  The Chatham station is shown long after the tracks have been removed.  Chatham was the last Cape Cod town to receive rail service, with its seven-mile branch completed in 1887.  The line was operated for just 50 years and was abandoned in 1937.  This station now houses a popular town-operated railroad museum and still looks very much the same.  (Courtesy of Howard Goodwin.)

Chapter 6 - Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket

Oak Bluffs Wharf, 1890.
Oak Bluffs Wharf, 1890.  The railroad wharf at Oak Bluffs was on the island of Martha's Vineyard.  The Martha's Vineyard Railroad was constructed in 1874 between here and Katama.  In 1876, a half-mile branch to South Beach was added to the line.  The line totaled nine miles and was a three-foot narrow-gauge line, like the Nantucket Railroad.  The locomotive pictured here is the Active, built by the H.K. Porter Company of Pittsburgh.  This was the only locomotive used by the Martha's Vineyard Railroad and (with three passenger coaches and one additional car) made up the entire equipment roster.  (Courtesy of Howard Goodwin.)
Nantucket Railroad Locomotive No. 2.
Nantucket Railroad Locomotive No. 2.  This was the last steam locomotive to be acquired by the Nantucket Railroad, arriving on the island in May 1910.  It was a 2-4-4T tank-type locomotive, built at the Alco works in Richmond, Virginia, and was the only locomotive to be purchased new by the railroad.  At the same time, the railroad placed an order with Jackson and Sharpe of Delaware (the same company that built the coaches of the Martha's Vineyard Railroad) for a combination baggage-passenger car and a regular passenger car.  These cars were painted bright red.  (Courtesy of Howard Goodwin.)

Chapter 7 - Modern Railroads of Cape Cod

The New Era of Rail Travel?
The New Era of Rail Travel?  In August 1979, this single self-propelled Budd SPV-2000 made a week-long visit to the Cape, offering free demonstration rides between Buzzards Bay and Falmouth and between Buzzards Bay and Hyannis, with an intermediate stop in Sandwich.  Gov. Edward King and U.S. Sen. Paul Tsongas were on hand at a reception in Barnstable to inaugurate this demonstration, and both were strong supporters of returning passenger rail service to southeastern Massachusetts, with the King administration pushing for Cape Cod-to-Braintree rail service by 1982.  The modern version of the original RDC (regularly used on the Cape as recently as 1964) is seen here at Buzzards Bay on August 12, 1979.  (Courtesy of Howard Goodwin.)
The Cape Cod Central at Wareham
The Cape Cod Central at Wareham  The Cape Cod Central Railroad operates scenic excursion and dinner train service on the Cape.  The first run, consisting of a single coach between two locomotives, was held on Memorial Day weekend in 1999, and free runs between West Barnstable and Hyannis continued for that inaugural weekend.  The 2000 season brought about many changes and some new equipment, including this GP-7, No. 1501.  The Cape Cod Central ran a series of chartered trains between Hyannis and Wareham in October 2000, and No. 1501 is pictured at the Wareham station on one of these trips.  Fireman Richard "Tink" Tinkham is posing with the locomotive.  (Photograph by the author.)

 

 

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