The Beach Times

All Aboard the Cape Cod Central Railroad
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 29, 2019

The Cape Cod Central Railroad runs on a 27-mile section of track that once belonged to the New Haven Railroad. This heritage railroad now operates from May through October, offering narrated sightseeing excursions, in addition to lunch and dinner trains.

Most trains depart from Hyannis Station, passing through West Barnstable and Sandwich before heading down the Cape Cod Canal and, sometimes, crossing into Buzzards Bay. They offer outstanding views of some of the area’s top attractions, while the narrators tell a bit about the history of these locations.

When visiting the Cape, taking a trip on the Cape Cod Central Railroad is a great way to see the towns and countryside without having to drive or navigate the roads yourself. Give it a try if you’re looking for a unique way to spend the day on your Cape Cod vacation.


The Routes

The Cape Cod Central Railroad has several routes departing from Hyannis, Barnstable, and Buzzards Bay. The length and cost of the trip depend on the excursion selected, along with the class and what you purchase onboard.

The Canal Excursion Train starts in Buzzards Bay and crosses the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge before running along the canal into Sandwich. From there, it visits the Great Salt Marsh in West Barnstable before heading back to Buzzards Bay. The trip takes about two hours and costs between $19.99 and $49.99, depending on the class you select. Lunch is available, as well.

Leaving from the Barnstable and Hyannis stations, the Coastal Excursion takes you past cranberry bogs, dunes, salt marshes, the Cape Cod Canal, and woodlands, giving you a real glimpse into everything that makes up the Upper and Mid Cape. On your journey, you'll learn about the history of the area, see Cape Cod's oldest village, and hear about local wildlife. Lunch is available for purchase, and the cost and length are the same as the Canal Excursion.

For something a little different, the Pairpoint Glass Tour is a three-hour ride that starts in Hyannis and runs through West Barnstable and Sandwich to Sagamore, home of Pairpoint Glass, one of the country's oldest glass factories. Once there, you'll have the opportunity to get off the train for a tour and to witness some live glass blowing. This excursion costs between $24.99 and $54.99, and lunch is available for an additional fee.


Dinner Service

There is nighttime service at the Cape Cod Central Railroad, too, as you can embark on a dinner excursion where you'll enjoy an outstanding meal while taking in the sights.

You can savor a five-course meal on the Cape Cod Dinner Train, which runs from Hyannis through Barnstable and Sandwich, and into Buzzards Bay. From there, the train reverses direction and returns to Hyannis. The ride takes three hours, and the menu changes every season. The cost is between $89.99 and $149.99, depending on your seating option.

Other dinner trains are available throughout the summer, but they don't have the same regular schedule as the Cape Cod Dinner Train. For example, there are gourmet wine and craft beer events where you will receive a meal and some drinks on your trip. Have a look at the Cape Cod Central Railroad website for more information on this season's events.

Meal trains aren't isolated to dinner, as there is a luncheon train departing from Hyannis twice per month in the late spring and summer, and even more throughout the first two weeks of October. This excursion offers a three-course menu with a choice of entrée and costs between $44.99 and $79.99.

If you're on the Cape for a major holiday, you'll have the chance to embark on the Sunday Brunch Train from Hyannis. This train has departures on Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Independence Day Weekend, Labor Day, and Columbus Day, with the meal costing between $44.99 and $79.99.


Classes of Service

You’ve probably noticed that there is a price range for all of these excursions, so what does that mean? Well, the seating option that you select determines the amount that you'll pay.

The least expensive option is Standard Class, which puts you on a double-decker rail car with seats in rows like you'd find on an Amtrak. The seats are comfortable, but you won't have as much space as you'd have when using the other options.

First Class puts you at a table with four seats. You'll have more space to yourself with this option, but keep in mind that your group might end up split, depending on how many passengers need a seat.

Diamond Class is also broken down into tables of four, except it has panoramic windows that provide outstanding views of everything that you pass. If you want to experience everything that Cape Cod has to offer along this railroad, this is the way to do it.


Other Things You Should Know

There are some things you should be aware of before purchasing your tickets on the Cape Cod Central Railroad.

For starters, the Cape Cod Dinner Train has a dress code requiring men to wear a collared shirt and dress pants, with a jacket and tie recommended but not mandatory. Ladies should wear a dress, skirt, or dress pants. Items like flip flops, jeans, shorts, tank tops, and t-shirts are prohibited, and you won't be allowed on the train if you don't dress appropriately. Also, the Cape Cod Dinner Train cannot accommodate anyone under the age of 12. Children are permitted on other trains, however.

Keep in mind that these are heritage trains, so they don't have the same amount of space that you'd expect in modern vehicles. As a result, their ability to accommodate wheelchairs is limited. If you have any accessibility questions, you're encouraged to contact the Cape Cod Central Railroad directly.

The Cape Cod Central Railroad is a must-do activity during your vacation to the Cape. Book your seat today and don't miss out on this season's exciting schedule.

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