Buzzards Bay station in May 2013
|Location||Main Street at Academy Drive|
Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts
|Line(s)||Cape Main Line|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
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 the Cape Cod Central Railroad. Extension of MBTA Commuter Rail service on the Middleborough/Lakeville Line to the station has been proposed on several occasions, but never enacted.
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.
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. 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.
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.
It was a stop for Amtrak's Cape Codder which ran from 1986 to 1996, 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.
CapeFLYER and proposed commuter service
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. 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. 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.
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. 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. The Buzzards Bay town selectmen similarly supported the idea later that year, and a public forum was held in January 2014.
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. 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.
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. For FY 2017, Bourne paid $41,707 to the MBTA plus an existing $88,429 to the CCRTA for existing bus service. 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. However, the proposal was rejected by the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board in April 2016.
- 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. Railway and Locomotive Historical Society. 17: 15–28. JSTOR 43504499.
- Massachusetts State Atlas, 1891
- "Business Office & Visitor Center". Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
- Ackerman, Jerry (July 5, 1989). "MASS. SPENT $1.2M ON DEPOTS WHERE TRAINS NOW SELDOM GO". Boston Globe. p. 34 – via Newspapers.com.
- 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.
- Rausch, Michael J. (13 November 2014). "MassDOT To Build New CapeFLYER Station". Enterprise Newspapers. Retrieved 19 November 2014.
- 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.
- "Chamber: Bring on commuter rail to Wareham, Buzzards Bay". Wicked Local Wareham. 25 September 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2014.
- "Commuter rail return to Buzzards Bay: viable, or romantic notion?". Wicked Local Buzzards Bay. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2014.[permanent dead link]
- 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.
- "Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Extension Local Impact Report" (PDF). Cape Cod Commission. April 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- Vaccaro, Adam (15 February 2016). "This Cape Cod town is paying for rail service that doesn't exist". Boston Globe. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
- Rausch, Michael J. (26 February 2016). "Details Expected Soon About Buzzards Bay Commuter Trains". Cape News. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- 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.
- Cape Cod Commission (April 2015). Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Extension - Local Impact Report (PDF) (Report). Archived (PDF) from the original on February 11, 2018.
- Humphrey, Thomas (January 2007). "Buzzards Bay Commuter Rail Extension Feasibility Study" (PDF). Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-15.
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