Study Investigates Possible Cape Cod Commuter Rail Service

BOURNE – A study has been launched to investigate the possibility of constructing a year-round commuter rail service connecting Buzzards Bay to the Boston area.

Bourne town officials said that the possible rail services would help bring commerce and activity to Buzzards Bay, which was impacted economically after the introduction of Route 25 which diverted travelers from the village.

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tom Cahir said that the project has been the result of several years of investigations into the concept that started in the late 90s.

He said that with recent efforts by the village to incorporate new attractions into Main Street, such as new hotels and restaurants, the time has never been better to bring a commuter rail to the area.

“I think that the study will result in something that suggests that alternate means of transportation to Boston is a good thing. Mobility options out of Cape Cod are good. We proved it with CapeFlyer here at the CCRTA, it’s been very successful,” said Cahir.

Cahir said that the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the Cape’s only 4-year college, would also benefit greatly from the construction of the rail service.

The public transport would help reduce climate impacts as well, reducing car-produced greenhouse gas emissions in a state where transportation contributes to 40 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions.

While some supporters of the plan desired to see the rail extend further onto Cape Cod to places like Hyannis, Cahir said that some existing infrastructure for a commuter rail already exists in Buzzards Bay, which would help reduce costs considerably.

“I think we get to Buzzards Bay, see the economic benefits to the community there, then we go from there,” said Cahir.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has created several challenges for public transport, which has needed to make several budget cuts in response to falling revenue, said Cahir.

Another challenge would be considering the marine traffic that goes through the canal and would interact much more often with a year-round commuter rail when compared to the CCRTA’s seasonal Cape Flyer rail service.

Cahir said he was confident that the service would still be feasible on Cape with the cooperation of all state and local services involved, and as development continues on a vaccine for COVID-19.

The study is expected to be completed in June.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.



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