Martha’s Vineyard has an airport and it certainly has its share of cars, but did you know 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.
When my mother and I would come to the Vineyard for the entire summer in the '40s and '50s, 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.
The train stopped at what is now the staging area for cars waiting to get onto the ferries. The tracks ran under the overpass and 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, crisply ironed napkins and finger bowls, which really impressed me. The waiters and conductors were always the same and remembered me from year to year— it made me feel special and grown up. Train service to Woods Hole ended in the 1960s and the adventure of driving I-95 began.