Friday, November 28, 2008

Service to Cape Cod: A Third Coming?

The Barnstable Patriot reports that John Kennedy, CEO of Cape Rail, intends to file plans with the state of Massachusetts to operate a passenger rail service from Buzzards Bay to Middleboro/Lakeville. There, riders could make an across-the-platform connection with MBTA trains for service to/from Boston. It ran an excursion over the route last Saturday. If the operation proves successful, it could be extended to Hyannis.

This would be a third coming for rail service between Cape Cod and the Boston area. The New Haven railroad ended its service from Beantown to Cape Cod in 1959. In the mid-1980s, the Cape Cod & Hyannis railroad operated some of its excursion trains out of Hyannis to Braintree, where passengers could connect with the "T's" red line.

The story in the Patriot said the run from Boston to Buzzards Bay could be made in 90 minutess, including the transfer at Middleboro. That would be fairly competitive with driving. Since trains would originate at Buzzards Bay, the entrance to the Cape, it seems this service would be oriented toward commuters. It would resemble connecting services like the Long Island Rail Road's Ronkonkoma - Greenport shuttle.

The questions to be answered are how much would it cost upgrade the line from Buzzards Bay to Middleboro to passenger train speeds, and who will pay for it.

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