Buzzards Bay station

Train station in Barnstable, Massachusetts, US
Preceding station MBTA Following station
Wareham Village
toward South Station
CapeFLYER Bourne
toward Hyannis
Preceding station Cape Cod Central Railroad Following station
Terminus Main Line Sandwich
toward Hyannis
Former services
Preceding station Amtrak Following station
toward New York
Cape Codder
toward Hyannis
Preceding station Cape Cod and Hyannis Railroad Following station
toward Braintree or Attleboro
Closed 1988
toward Hyannis
Falmouth Branch
Closed 1988
toward Falmouth
Preceding station New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Following station
toward Boston
Boston–​Woods Hole Gray Gables
toward Woods Hole
Boston–​Hyannis Bourne
toward Hyannis
Boston–​Provincetown Bourne
toward New York
Cape Codder Sandwich
toward Hyannis
Monument Beach
toward Woods Hole

Buzzards Bay station is a train station located on Main Street in Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts. The site also contains an interlocking tower. The Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge is adjacent.

Buzzards Bay is an intermediate stop on the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority's CapeFLYER summer weekend passenger service. It is also the westernmost stop of Cape Cod Central Railroad tourist service. Extension of MBTA Commuter Rail service on the Middleborough/Lakeville Line to the station has been proposed on several occasions, but never enacted.


The station on a postcard from the 1940s

Originally known as Cohasset Narrows, the station was built as part of the Cape Cod Branch Railroad in 1848. Its name was changed to Buzzards Bay on August 1, 1879 by the Old Colony Railroad who had acquired the line in 1872 with a merger of the Cape Cod Railroad.[1][2] The Woods Hole Branch opened on July 17, 1872.[3]

The present station building was constructed by the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad in 1912. Prior to the opening of the Cape Cod Canal in 1916, Buzzards Bay was located on what was then the north bank of the Monument River at a junction of the main railroad line between Middleborough and Cape Cod and the branch to Woods Hole. The Woods Hole Branch crossed the river slightly west of what is now the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge, while the Cape Cod main line continued along the north side of the river before crossing where the river narrowed at Bourne.[4] The Monument River was converted into the Cape Cod Canal, which opened in 1916. The Cape Cod Main Line and junction were moved to the south side of the canal, which was later widened in the 1930s. Into the 1960s the New Haven Railroad operated daily passenger service to Boston and seasonal day and night Cape Codder service to New York City.

Originally located near the tracks, the station building is now set back from the train line because of the removal of excess trackage. The station also houses year-round offices and a seasonal visitor's center for the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce.[5]

It was a stop for Amtrak's Cape Codder which ran from 1986 to 1996 (again, New York to the Cape), and for the Cape Cod and Hyannis Railroad which ran from 1984 to 1988. In 1988, the state refurbished the station building and added an accessible platform in preparation for never-realized commuter rail service.[6]

Cape Cod Central Railroad

Buzzards Bay serves as the western terminus for Cape Cod Central Railroad, which runs tourist excursion trains along the track between Buzzards Bay and Hyannis. In the summer, Buzzards Bay serves as a station of departure for excursion trains running to West Barnstable,[7] select dinner trains running along the length of the Canal,[8] and a special excursion in mid-September to celebrate Cape Cod Canal Day, which includes a stop at the Pairpoint Glass facility in Sagamore.[9] In the winter, Buzzards Bay is the point of departure for several Polar Express-esque holiday excursions.[10]

CapeFLYER and proposed commuter service

A CapeFLYER train at the 1999-built high level platform in 2013
Second high-level platform under construction in June 2014

Original plans for the reopening of the Middleborough/Lakeville Line in the 1990s called for service to Wareham or beyond; however, plans were scaled back and the line was only opened to Middleborough/Lakeville in 1997.[citation needed] In 2007, the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization released a report evaluating the possibility of commuter rail service to Buzzards Bay including several intermediate stops.[11] However, other projects like the Greenbush Line received priority and the extension to Buzzards Bay was not constructed.

In 2014, a new high-level platform was built closer to the bridge. This platform allows CapeFLYER trains (which, like other MBTA trains, place the first car at the mini-high platforms) to avoid blocking the Academy Drive crossing while stopped at the station. In November 2014, it was announced that an improved siding would be fully restored near the station, including a universal crossover before Cohasset Narrows.[12]

The relative success of the CapeFLYER has brought new attention to the possibility of extending the Middleborough/Lakeville Line. The possibility was seriously discussed before the end of its first summer season.[13] In September 2013, the Wareham Chamber of Commerce announced that based on the success of the CapeFLYER, the Chamber supported commuter rail extension to Buzzards Bay.[14] The Buzzards Bay town selectmen similarly supported the idea later that year, and a public forum was held in January 2014.[15][16]

Bourne’s Transportation Advisory Committee began studying the possibility in mid-2014, with the addition of work by MassDOT's Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) in November 2014.[17] A Local Impact Report released in April 2015 proposed an 800 foot (240 m) high-level platform and two parking alternatives: a 120-space modification of the existing lot, and a 400-to-600-space structure including a realignment of Academy Drive. The CTPS data estimated ridership at 875 daily riders if all Middleborough trains were extended to Buzzards Bay, or slightly fewer with a limited number of trains.[17]

Bourne voted to join the MBTA district in 2015 and began paying an assessment in mid 2016 (for FY 2017), although there was no guarantee that commuter rail service would be provided in the fiscally constrained environment.[18] For FY 2017, Bourne paid $41,707 to the MBTA plus an existing $88,429 to the CCRTA for existing bus service.[19] MassDOT began planning a possible commuter rail trial service in October 2015. In February 2016, state representatives and CCRTA administrator Thomas Cahir said that the state wished to begin trial service during FY 2017, possibly by the end of 2016.[19] However, the proposal was rejected by the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board in April 2016.[20] In 2019, town officials raised the possibility of leaving the MBTA because the agency had no plans to extend service to Bourne within the next two decades.[21] Withdrawal was rejected by residents at a June 2020 town meeting.[22]

In fall 2020, the MBTA began conducting a study to evaluate the feasibility of implementing Buzzards Bay commuter rail service in conjunction with the currently-underway South Coast Rail project.[23][24] Upon completion of the study in spring 2021, two different alternatives for service were presented, one of which would terminate at Buzzards Bay and the other of which would continue to Bourne station.[25]


  1. ^ Jacobs, Warren (October 1928). "Dates of Some of the Principal Events in the History of 100 Years of the Railroad in New England. 1826-1926". Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin. 17 (17). Railway and Locomotive Historical Society: 15–28. JSTOR 43504499.
  2. ^ "The Old Colony Railroad". The Boston Globe. July 30, 1879. p. 4 – via
  3. ^ Ninth Annual Report of the Old Colony Railroad Co. to the Stockholders. Old Colony Railroad Company. November 1872. p. 11.
  4. ^ Massachusetts State Atlas, 1891
  5. ^ "Business Office & Visitor Center". Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  6. ^ Ackerman, Jerry (July 5, 1989). "MASS. SPENT $1.2M ON DEPOTS WHERE TRAINS NOW SELDOM GO". Boston Globe. p. 34 – via Open access icon
  7. ^ "Cape Cod Canal Excursion". Cape Cod Central Railroad. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  8. ^ "Cape Cod Dinner Train". Cape Cod Central Railroad. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  9. ^ "Cape Cod Canal Day Excursion Train". Cape Cod Central Railroad. Archived from the original on January 15, 2021. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  10. ^ "The Polar Express Train Ride". Cape Cod Central Railroad. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  11. ^ Humphrey, Thomas J. (January 2007). "Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Extension Feasibility Study" (PDF). Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization – via United States Department of Transportation National Transportation Library.
  12. ^ Rausch, Michael J. (13 November 2014). "MassDOT To Build New CapeFLYER Station". Enterprise Newspapers. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  13. ^ Kinsella, James (16 August 2013). "Cape Commuter Rail Is A Real Possibility". Cape News. Archived from the original on 19 August 2013. Retrieved 18 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Chamber: Bring on commuter rail to Wareham, Buzzards Bay". Wicked Local Wareham. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Commuter rail return to Buzzards Bay: viable, or romantic notion?". Wicked Local Buzzards Bay. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2014.[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ Rausch, Michael J. (27 January 2014). "Pros And Cons of Bourne Commuter Rail Discussed At Forum". Cape News. Archived from the original on 17 March 2014. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  17. ^ a b "Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Extension Local Impact Report" (PDF). Cape Cod Commission. April 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  18. ^ Vaccaro, Adam (15 February 2016). "This Cape Cod town is paying for rail service that doesn't exist". Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  19. ^ a b Rausch, Michael J. (26 February 2016). "Details Expected Soon About Buzzards Bay Commuter Trains". Cape News. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  20. ^ Mohl, Bruce (April 4, 2016). "T approves N. Quincy real estate deal: Rejects test of daily commuter service to Cape Cod". Commonwealth Magazine. Retrieved May 6, 2017.
  21. ^ "Bourne's Continued MBTA Membership Questioned by Group". November 21, 2019.
  22. ^ Rausch, Michael J. (July 1, 2020). "Bourne Town Meeting Rejects MBTA Withdrawal During An Unusual Outdoor Town Meeting". Bourne Enterprise.
  23. ^ Grady Culhane (3 December 2020). "Study Investigates Possible Cape Cod Commuter Rail Service". Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  24. ^ Ethan Genter (1 December 2020). "New study renews hope for Cape commuter rail service". Cape Cod Times. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  25. ^ Jimmy Bentley (June 2, 2021). "Cape Officials To Discuss Potential Commuter Rail Proposals". MSN. Retrieved June 3, 2021.

Further reading

  • Humphrey, Thomas (January 2007). "Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Extension Feasibility Study" (PDF). Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 15, 2017.
  • Cape Cod Commission (April 2015). Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Extension - Local Impact Report (PDF) (Report). Archived (PDF) from the original on February 11, 2018.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Buzzards Bay station.
  • CapeFLYER Train Stations
  • Google Maps Street View image of the station
  • Buzzards Bay Station and Vicinity (Cape Cod Rails)
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