Nantucket Railroad; train leaving for Siasconset on Easy Street. In the boat basin are dories, catboats, fishing boats, and schooners. Old North Wharf is on the right, 1915.
Nantucket offered rail service from 1881 to 1917. Original plans were to go west along the cliff, then around the south shore to Siaconset. But when the track was laid in 1881, it went east and south three miles to Surfside. The narrow-gauge tracks, set three feet apart, and the locomotive and two passenger cars were all second-hand. The engine was named "Dionis," and the name was set in large gold letters on either side. The train could seat 180 people. There was great opposition to the project from town businesses and taxi-drivers, and there were two attempts to sabotage the train in the first year! In 1885, the engine "'Sconset" was added and in 1901 the "Dionis" was replaced with the "No. 1." When the automobile was allowed on island in 1918, the railway closed, with the rails, two cars, and engine No. 2 were sent to Bordeaux, France, for the war effort.
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