next stop to the left Buzzards Bay   CapeFLYER  

The Hyannis Train Platform is the terminus of the CapeFlyer located at the Hyannis Transportation Center. It is the one stop on the cape itself for the MBTA Commuter Rail operated but Cape Cod Regional Transportation Authority (CCRTA) funded and managed CapeFlyer that makes seasonal trips on Friday evenings and for day trippers on Saturdays and Sundays between Boston and Cape Cod between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The transportation center is the hub for buses throughout Cape Cod including CCRTA local bus lines to destinations throughout Cape as well as intercity bus lines with Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway Coach Buses to Boston or Provincetown in the outer cape. Finally Peter Pan has a line from Hyannis to Providence and New York City. The numerous connections at the Hyannis Transportation Center and the recent development of the CCRTA bus system make exploring Cape Cod without a car appealing are what backers think will make the CapeFlyer become a permanent operation. These connections also include shuttles to the ferry pier in Hyannis for connections to Nantucket, for Martha's Vineyard the shuttle from Woods Hole connects with the train at Buzzards Bay.

The lack of connections to other destinations were some of the previous factors that doomed the previous seasonal train lines in the 1980s and 1990s. The last time year round operations to and from Cape Cod existed was in 1959 when the New Haven Line discontinued all service on the Old Colony Lines (MBTA Commuter Rail Service resumed in 1997). Season operations continued via the New Haven Line from Hyannis until 1964.

The next attempts at train service off of Cape Cod occurred in the 1980s. The Cape Cod & Hyannis Railroad, with subsidies from the state, began operating train service to and form Braintree only (with Connections to the MBTA Red Line) along today's CapeFlyer route in 1984. Service in 1985 expanded to select Mondays and in the Summer of 1986 trains ran 7 days a week. For only the 1988 season some trains connected at Wareham to Attleboro to serve Amtrak connections for passengers going to New York and other points south. In early 1989 the State of Massachusetts cut the subsidy making 1988 the last year of this service that lasted five years.

Amtrak also served Cape Cod (as one of Amtrak's only seasonal and least frequent routes). The Amtrak Cape Codder ran during summer from 1986 to 1996 from New York City (or Washington in some years) leaving New York City on Friday nights and returning to New York City on Sunday afternoons, specifically designed for a weekend getaway. On Saturdays a second round-trip operated to New York for the 1986 to 1988 seasons. 1989 saw the Saturday round-trip cut back to a Hyannis to Providence run with connecting service there to further destinations, for the 1990, 1991, and 1992 seasons this train was named the Clamdigger. In 1993 the Clamdigger was discontinued with the Cape Codder making just one weekly round-trip from New York to Hyannis leaving New York on Fridays returning on Sundays between. 1996 was the last summer for the Cape Codder and for the final summer it operated the usual weekly days originating in Boston, stopping in Providence, RI (the timetable calls it Providence, MA) where it provided a direct connection with a regularly scheduled Northeast Corridor train before continuing to Hyannis, the trip took almost four hours in each direction. The Cape Flyer returned in 2013 and today's trip on the CapeFlyer is still slow for the milage covered but the more direct route via Middleborough is nearly twice as fast taking about two hours and 15 minutes.

Tourist Railway service on the Cape has been provided since 1981 (interrupted in 1998) first by the Cape Cod & Hyannis Railroad until it went bankrupt in 1988 ending the Braintree Service. From 1989 to 1997 it was provided by the Cape Cod Railroad, since 1999 it has been provided by the Cape Cod Central Railroad that does run some excursions just off the Cape along the route of the CapeFlyer as far as Buzzards Bay. It operates the usual tourist railroad verity of and lunch, dinner, and scenic train operations. The tourist railway shares the same track as the single track train terminus of the Cape Flyer but in an unusual arrangement tourist trains use the low-level platform on the east side of the track while CapeFlyer Trains use the shorter high-level platform on the west side of the track. The CapeFlyer trainset lays-up during its midday layovers on Saturdays and Sundays in the small train yard north of the station which is home base for the Cape Cod Central.

The single track that is the terminus at Hyannis is basically an extended track through the small train yard (with only manually set switches) that ends at a yellow bumper block and is well fenced off. I believe that all entering trains must stop to have a switch set before entering the station platforms. The longer, low-level platform on the east side of the track has an old fashioned wooden gable roof canopy that covers about the first car from the bumper block before the low-level platform extends with a fading yellow line north. Approximately seven cars can be accommodated. Chains and a line of red benches run under the middle of the canopy to keep people off the track. At the northern end of the canopy is a clear fenced off entrance with a sign telling Cape Cod Central Passengers to wait for the Conductor before entering the platform for boarding. A two story red station house is partially used by the Cape Cod Central for its Scenic Train Rides Ticket office.

The west side of the track is where the CapeFlyer stops. Here is was originally a small concrete mini-high platform that was built in 1980-1990s for the last iteration of passenger train service to allow wheelchairs to access the trains. In 2002 (a plaque dedicates it to September 23, 2002) the Hyannis Transportation Center opened on this side of the tracks. The one improvement made for CapeFlyer service was a wooden extension to this original mini-high level platform, extending it to cover about one and a half cars (all the doors that can be opened on terminating CapeFlyer Trains). The entire platform (wooden extension, and original concrete mini-high) also received the ADA required tactile warning strip. No signs were installed. (there is one on the opposite side that is from the tourist railway and says Welcome to Hyannis). To leave the platform passengers can go down the original ramp off the mini-high platform a staircase at the beginning of the wooden portion of the platform or continue walking down the platform to its northern end where it becomes a walkway and doors lead into a back entrance inside the Hyannis Transportation Center.

The Hyannis Transportation Center itself is a sprawling modern grey shingled building that was designed to clearly evoke a Cape Cod House. Inside are plenty of wooden benches for seating. A ticket counter for Plymouth and Brockton and Peter Pan Intercity Bus Lines and information for the local CCRTA Buses. At the northern end of the station (requiring transferring Cape Flyer passengers to walk through the terminal) is a covered walkway to the numbered bus bays for intercity buses and stops for CCRTA buses. Beyond these bus bays are paid long term overnight parking lots ($6 per day) that can accommodate 160 cars.
All photos taken on 11 August, 2013

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Getting of a Multi-Level at Hyannis, the train exceeds the length of the platform
Passengers on the platform at Hyannis
Panel of information about the CapeFlyer
Wooden benches for waiting inside the transportation center
Plaque for the Transit Center's dedication on September 23, 2002
Looking out the doors to a Commuter Rail Train and the new Wooden Platform from the transit center
The CapeFlyer prepares to leave the station and enter the overgrown yard where it will layover until tonights trip back to Boston
The wooden walkway from the transit center to the short CapeFlyer Platform
Just one full car and the doors of two others can open along the short platform
The repainted concrete ramp of what was originally built as a mini-high platform and now has been extended to a slighlty longer high-level platform
The MBTA trainset of the CapeFlyer and Hyannis Transportation Center
Ex-UTA MP36PH-3C #10 is the lead locomotive of the pull-pull CapeFlyer
Looking across to the other low-level platform used by the Cape Cod Central Railroad for Scenic Train trips
The CapeFlyer car on the Cape
The CapeFlyer car stops at Hyannis Station
Flags and Plymouth & Brockton Buses behind them
Ex-UTA MP36PH-3C #10 in front of the Cape Cod Central platform
A stone for the Hyannis Transportation Center and the MBTA Locomotive of the CapeFlyer
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Cape Flyer

Last Updated: 18 August, 2013
All photos are by Jeremiah Cox
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