Martha’s Vineyard has an airport and it certainly has its share of cars, and of course it has boats, did you know though there once was a railroad on the Vineyard? In the the book: The History of Martha’s Vineyard by Arthur R Railton, you’ll find that indeed there was one, the Martha’s Vineyard Railroad.
It was built in 1874 and ran along the beach from Oak Bluffs to Katama. Storms often washed the tracks out and expensive repairs were needed. It had its share of problems and eventually in 1900 the bankrupt railroad stopped running.
There was actually another railroad that’s sort of connected to MV. The old New York/New Haven/Hartford railroad. Its Old Colony line used to go all the way to Woods Hole. The station was located where the parking lot for the ferry is today.
When my mother and I would go to MV every year to spend the summer we would take a train from Pennsylvania Station in Newark, NJ to Grand Central Station in NYC where we would change trains.
We would have to run from one end of the station to the other to board the New York/New Haven & Hartford’s train on the Old Colony line called the Day Cape Codder, which would take us all the way from New York City to Woods Hole, MA. That’s right, all the way to Woods Hole.
The train stopped at what is now the staging area for cars waiting to get onto the ferries. The tracks ran under the overpass in the left corner of the above photograph. It was literally only steps from train to boat. A comfortable and luxurious way to travel in the days when lots of people didn’t have cars and the road system left a lot to be desired anyway. The trains had dining cars with each table dressed in fancy tablecloths and crisply ironed napkins. The waiters and conductors were always the same and seemed to remember me from year to year… made me feel special and grown up. Train service to Woods Hole ended in the 1960′s.
From the train we’d board the ferry, Nobska and sail to Oak Bluffs where
our relatives would pick us up and three glorious months on the Vineyard would begin.
(For more information on the NOBSKA/NANTUCKET, the last American coastal steamer, which ended its sailing days in 1973 please CLICK HERE).
(For more information on the Martha’s Vineyard Railroad please CLICK HERE).
– by Joan –