In October, 2012, Iowa Pacific Holdings, LLC, purchased a controlling interest in Cape Rail, Inc. which includes Massachusetts Coastal Railroad “Mass Coastal” and Cape Cod Central Railroad. Cape Rail covers 98.5 miles of track between the two railroads. Mass Coastal is a freight line and the Cape Cod Central is a heritage, passenger railroad that operates as part of the Premier Rail Collection.
In 1848, railroad service in Massachusetts first extended to the town of Sandwich on Cape Cod. Originally it was the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company that necessitated the need for freight service on the Cape. Eventually the desire for passenger transportation resulted in the expansion of the line. Between the years of 1854 to 1959, the line was owned and operated by the Cape Cod Railroad, the Old Colony Railroad and the New Haven Railroad. The current operation is the namesake of the Cape Cod Central Railroad, which ran from 1861 – 1868, although there is no relation between the two companies. By 1887, thirty-nine years after the railroad first ventured onto Cape Cod, it connected fourteen of the fifteen towns on the Cape. In 1935, the current Buzzards Bay vertical lift train bridge was completed. It is the second longest bridge of its kind in the world. The Cape Cod Dinner Train often crosses over the historic Cape Cod Canal via the Buzzards Bay train bridge. The Cape Cod Canal will celebrate it’s centennial in 2014. The West Barnstable station (1911) and the Buzzards Bay dispatch tower (1911) and depot are all historic buildings. In 1892, the Gray Gables Station was constructed. It was named for President Grover Cleveland’s nearby summer home. That station was retired from use in 1940, but it still remains standing as a museum. By 1959, after World War II, year-round passenger service was discontinued on Cape Cod. It wasn’t until 1999 that the current Cape Cod Central Railroad was originally founded. Much of the track on the Cape has been removed and replaced with the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the Shining Sea Bikeway. However, the Cape Cod Central Railroad still runs on approximately 27 miles of track from Hyannis to Buzzards Bay.
Currently, the Cape Cod Central Railroad runs from May through October. It offers narrated Shoreline Excursion Trains, Yankee Clipper Brunch Trains, Cape Cod Dinner Trains and various special events. Departing regularly from Hyannis, with select additional departures from Buzzards Bay, the Cape Cod Central Railroad is a popular tourist attraction. Guests depart the mid-Cape in Hyannis, travel through West Barnstable and Sandwich and down to the Cape Cod Canal. On the way, they travel through sand dunes and salt marshes, see glimpses of the bay and have the opportunity to enjoy parts of Cape Cod that are only accessible by rail.
Cape Rail currently has six engines in total: the 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 1501 which are painted in a Cape Cod cranberry color with yellow highlights. There are two consists, the Cape Cod Central dinner train set is also cranberry colored and it has three Canadian National coaches that are table cars. These are named the Sandy Neck (1937), Great Island (1937) and Race Point (1942). There is also a historic Illinois Central lounge car named the Cape Codder (built in 1917) and a kitchen car on that train. The scenic consist has two C1 Long Island cars and we hope to be adding several dining cars this upcoming season.
We invite you to get up close with the hidden beauty of the Cape aboard the Cape Cod Central Railroad! Our classic two-hour excursion ride brings passengers up close and personal with the beauty of the Cape including woodlands, sand dunes, cranberry bogs, salt marshes and the famous Cape Cod Canal. On board narration adds another dimension, keeping guests informed and entertained throughout the duration of their journey. Our three-hour Cape Cod Dinner Train is a true culinary journey. This train travels through quaint villages accompanied by romantic music and soft candlelight. As guests soak in the splendor of the seaside community, a fresh, delicious meal is prepared. Visit CapeTrain.com for a complete listing of our offerings and call 888-797-7245 to make reservations. We look forward to welcoming you aboard!
General Information about a visit to the Cape Cod Central Railroad
We hope we are able to answer most of your questions about our historic scenic railroad. If you have questions that are not answered on this site please call us Toll Free 888-797-7245.
Scenic Railroad Passenger Info:
Handicap Accessibility: Due to the historic nature of our equipment, we are unfortunately unable to accommodate wheelchairs on our excursion trains.
We gladly accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and various ATM cards.
For more information on freight services please contact:
Mass Coastal Railroad - 508-291-0685
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