After decades-long hiatus, train service to Cape Cod embarks on trial run before official debut
At exactly 9:36 this morning, the CapeFlyer — the MBTA’s new train service from South Station to Hyannis — set off on its inaugural run.
The service is set to officially debut next weekend, but several hundred T and commuter rail officials, along with general train fanatics, boarded the car today to ride along on its trial run.
Next weekend will be the first time in about 25 years service from Boston to Cape Cod will be offered.
Fred Breimyear, 69, of Wellesley, was the first in line to board the train. For him, the opportunity to take a trip on the CapeFlyer before most people was one he couldn’t pass up.
“Why would we not want to be on this train?” said Breimyear, a confessed transit devotee and member of the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts . He had already scoped out the spot he wanted — top floor of the double-decker car closest to the front, left side, so he could get the best view.
His wife, Adele Langevin, was right there alongside him — though, she admitted, she was a little less exhilarated.
“I’m here because I’m married to him,” she joked. “I have my Kindle.”
Saturday’s train was scheduled to take passengers down to the Cape, where they would be met with a press conference and the chance to take a bus tour of Hyannis. After that, the train and its passengers were to return to South Station in the afternoon.
Beverly Scott, general manager of the MBTA, took a window seat in the bar car, right up front. She was prepared for a lesiurely trip, a Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee in hand and a copy of the New York Times at her side.
“It’s like being able to get a little slice of heaven,” Scott said, “and you don’t even have to drive!”
In its previous iterations, train service to Cape Cod was shuttered because of low ridership and the need for state government subsidies. But Scott said she is confident this reboot will be a success.
“I think this one’s going to be a no-brainer,” Scott said.
On Saturday, the bar car served only juice, coffee, snacks and sandwiches. But next weekend, when regular service kicks into action on Friday, the refreshment options will be ramped up, MBTA spokeswoman Kelly Smith said.
There will be beer and wine, and Blood Marys.
And, of course, there will be Cape Codders.Martine Powers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers.