In 1848, the railroad extended to Cape Cod to serve the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company. By 1887, fourteen of the fifteen towns on Cape Cod were connected by the railroad. For a short time, even the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard had railroad lines. As the highways expanded in the years following World War II, the automobile became the primary mode of transportation. By 1959, year-round Cape Cod passenger service had been discontinued. Today, many miles of track have been removed to accommodate recreational bike paths.
Using hundreds of historic images, Railroads of Cape Cod and the Islands illustrates the rich heritage of passenger and freight rail transportation on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket. Mainland connections once involved transfer between ship and rail at wharves in Provincetown, Hyannis, and Woods Hole. Since 1935, trains have crossed the Cape Cod Canal on the world's second longest vertical-lift bridge.
About the Author
Andrew T. Eldredge, a native Cape Codder with ancestors in the whaling industry and the U.S. Life-Saving Service, has been interested in railroads ever since he was a child. An avid rail photographer, he has designed, constructed, and maintained Web sites celebrating railroad history. He is a member of the National Railway Historical Society, the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts, and the National Association of Railroad Passengers. He is currently employed as a brake-fireman for the Cape Cod Central Railroad.