Newport and Rhode Island Railroads




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Read more about Kingston Station, Rhode Island.







Newport, Rhode Island is located on Aquidneck Island. The Old Colony & Newport Railway was chartered in 1863 as that islands answer to a demand for a rail connection with the rest of the country. 1864 saw the first passenger train to Fall River, Massachusetts with through service to Boston following in a few weeks. Improved service came with a merger with the Old Colony Railroad. Railroad and subsidiary steamship operations established Newport as “America’s first resort”. During the 1890’s the Old Colony merged with the New York, New Haven & Hartford. By 1913, 24 passenger trains and two freights served Newport daily. Steamships ran to New York. Many Boston to New York passengers went rail to Newport and ship to New York. Highways caused a decline in rail service by the late 1920’s. Boston passenger service ceased in 1938.

Freight service has continued. Penn Central and CONRAIL have followed in the New Haven’s footsteps. The State of Rhode Island has owned the trackage since 1978 and has made substantial track improvements. Since 1979, the National Railroad Foundation has operated tourist passenger service. The train leaves daily at 1:30 and the trip up the bay and back takes a little over two hours.

Newport Yard was once a transfer point to steamships. There was a roundhouse, two turntables, and room for over one hundred rail cars. Now it is a two track stub.

The train passes under the approaches to the giant Newport Bridge.


Coddington Cove, two miles above Newport, is a natural deepwater harbor. Many Navy activities are located here. The piers where destroyers dock are within sight of the train.

The train next passes the Naval Underwater Systems Center. Engineering work is carried on here developing weapons and submarine technology. Finally the tracks return to civilian life and pass a fancy golf course. Near here is McAllister Point, named after Ward McAllister, best remembered for limiting the upper crust of New York society to 400 people because that was the capacity of Mrs. Astor’s ballroom. A station and small yard were located here until 1927.

A passing track at milepost 5 used to accommodate “meets” between the many daily trains on the line. This area is relatively unspoiled because it formerly was restricted to Navy personnel.

Portsmouth Grove was once a popular picnic and outing spot. The Navy used it as a coaling station until World War II when it became a PT boat training site. President Kennedy trained here. Sidings remain here from the days when there was a freight house, yard and coaling facility.

Topiary Garden is part of the Brayton Estate now owned by the Preservation Society of Newport County.

It is 18 miles to the Tiverton Drawbridge. From Ferry Street in Fall River it is 39 miles to Canton Junction then another 15 miles to Boston.

Now this line has an additional train. No, it isn’t a second tourist ride, it is a dinner train. It is named the “Star Clipper” and is an attempt at elegance and luxury. It features a romantic ride along the east shore of Narragansett Bay while dining like royalty on course after course of the finest food. Patrons are seated at tables for four with glassware, china and linen.


List of Rhode Island Railroads
Rhode Island Public Transit Authority
Rhode Island Railroad Museum
At Kingston Station
The Railroad Line From Woodlawn Tower In Pawtucket, Rhode Island To Boston Switch In Central Falls, Rhode Island



The only railroad connection to the mainland is via a bridge over the Sakonnet River towards Fall River.

The Newport rail lines are isolated and have been for a few decades.
The Sakonnet drawbridge was damaged and considered a hazard by the Coast Guard.
The state is looking to fix it or remove it.



A real estate development project sponsored by Rhode Island. Was a 3,047 acre military complex.

Rail service within the Park is provided by Seaview Transportation Co., Inc. and consists of approximately 14 miles of track in two branches. In addition, there are numerous sidings and yards. The rail system connects to National Class I carriers.

The Freight Rail Improvement Project (FRIP) will benefit the RO/RO capabilities of the Port of Davisville.

Could this be the “super port” New England needs?

Only an hour and a half from Beantown, Newport has a dramatic, ocean-crashing-on-rocks side facing the Atlantic; a cutesy, colonial side facing Narragansett Bay; and a third, Rhode Island Sound–oriented side that’s swept with beaches. Easton’s Beach—better known as First Beach—is the classic Americana spot, with a carousel, snack bar, and cabanas; Sachuset (Second) Beach is a 1.25-mile stretch below St. George’s prep school that catches the crowd runoff. Few make it as far as Third Beach, a quiet spot for kiteboarding, kayaking, and bird-watching.



It will be the first increase in service since 1988, when trains from Providence to Boston were restored.

February 13, 2006

By late 2008, South County commuters could have a tempting choice: fight their way up Routes 4 and 95 to the state’s capital, or take a train at Wickford Junction, in North Kingstown, paying about $4 for a roundtrip to Providence and perhaps $16 for a roundtrip to Boston.

Or they could take the same train to T.F. Green Airport and catch a plane anywhere.

State Department of Transportation officials say they expect construction to begin on the transportation center planned for Warwick this spring, and on the North Kingstown station next spring, with service to both starting in 2008.

The rail service will come as an extension of the existing Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority service from Boston to Providence southward.

It will also advance the state’s strategic transportation goal by providing for more people traveling farther without building more highways. Both new railroad stations will have parking garages.

In the longer term, the DOT is thinking about extending commuter service as far as Westerly, and eventually linking it with the Connecticut DOT’s Shore Line East commuter service, which now connects New London with New Haven. There are also proposals for opening stations in Pawtucket, Cranston and East Greenwich.


MBTA extends service to Rhode Island’s T.F. Green station

It’s official: On Dec. 6, 2010, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) launched commuter-rail service to the new T.F. Green station in Warwick, R.I.

Located adjacent to T.F. Green International Airport, the station is part of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s (RIDOT) and Rhode Island Airport Corp.’s $267 million InterLink project, which included building a consolidated rental car facility, bus hub and parking garage. InterLink opened in late October.

In September, RIDOT signed an operations agreement with MBTA to create the South County Commuter Rail service, expanding service south of Providence. The contract builds on a 1988 agreement between the agencies that launched Providence-to-Boston commuter-rail service.

In late 2011, RIDOT plans to further extend commuter-rail service to Wickford Junction.


Newport, RI RDC Transit Service to Begin 2007

There had been informal talk for several years about what to do with the Newport Secondary Rail Line, it is currently used by the Newport Dinner Train and a scenic train. The informal plan is to eventually to have MBTA commuter rail service from Newport to Boston (this will likely pick up steam once the T gets extended to Fall River). However this new proposal just came up by the operator of the Dinner Train to operate a new Aquidneck Island rail shuttle using either RDCs or Diesel LRVs. They are quite anxious to get this running and plan to start construction later this year.

Islander Shuttle:
Service between Newport & Melville (Portsmouth), 7.25 miles to the north.
Owned and operated by Newport Dinner Train
Construction would begin in October with service beginning in late 2007.
Privately-funded except for $300,000 in grants to help replace ties and add sidings.
It would take about 25 minutes between Newport and Melville and operate on a schedule with 2 hour headways.


Newport is slowly getting rail service. A Budd RDC is on the way!

If you wonder about how useful an RDC would be on an “island”, Newport is a pretty sizable mass: 60,870 residents, including the City of Newport and the towns of Middletown and Portsmouth. Seems like the RDC is perfect for Aquidneck!

If you are from New England, you know Newport is a MAJOR tourist attraction in the summer. And the owners of the Newport Grand video slot gambling facility have just announced a 1.4 Billion dollar expansion into a major resort/entertainment complex.

There’s only one very crowded, undivided four-lane highway running north/south on the island, so a north/south rail alternative has potential. Additionally, for more than 100 years, the island had a rail link to the mainland at the north end, but the bridge was out of service for many years before it was finally demolished last year.

With the planned return of MBTA commuter service to Fall River, Massachusetts in the foreseeable future, and the fact that the former Old Colony & Newport ROW still crosses the state line into Rhode Island, and that the tracks still run as far as the piers of the old bridge, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that rail service connecting to Boston could be restored, if a new bridge were to be built. That would be great for all the Bostonians who have made Newport their summer weekend party place.


The owners of the Newport (RI) Dinner Train will be using two ex-BCRail, ex-Wilton Scenic RDCs to establish a commuter/tourist service from the newly-developed Weaver Cove Marina Village in Portsmouth, at the north end of Aquidneck Island to downtown Newport. They hope to attract commuters and tourists who wish to avoid the badly congested RI Rt. 138, and tourists wishing to take in the views of Narragansett Bay as well. The notorious lack of adequate parking in Newport should be an added incentive to park in Portsmouth and ride the shuttle to Downtown.


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