I always enjoy reading Robert Straughton’s ‘Ferry World’ column, in fact; it’s always the first section that I read in each issue of Sea Breezes.
With regard to exceptionally long names, as described in the August 2017 issue. The Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket Steamship Authority is certainly on a par with Red Funnel’s legal name. But originally it was even longer - The New Bedford, Woods Hole, Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket Steamship Authority!
Because of continuing deficits, service on the New Bedford route (27 miles from Vineyard Haven, on Martha’s Vineyard) was withdrawn in 1960. I am pleased to enclose a photocopy of their timetable, as shown in the February 1955 issue of the Official Guide of the Railways (over 1,500 pages). The ‘Steamship Authority’ (to use its handier name), is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but operates without any state subsidies. Should any annual deficits occur, they are made up by the taxpayers of the host island communities, but this has happened only three times since 1963.
The Steamship Authority was created in 1948 as successor to Massachusetts Steamship Lines, itself formed only in 1945 to replace sickly predecessor companies. The main terminal at Woods Hole was directly beside the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad station, and this was the very busy mainland terminus, albeit, nowadays, without any rail passenger service. The Steamship Authority itself operates about two dozen busses connecting with various outlying parking lots, and (in season) with the Cape Flyer train (Boston-Hyannis) at Buzzards Bay station. Hyannis is a secondary mainland port, with service only, to Nantucket. Privately owned ferry companies (passenger-only) compete from Falmouth and Hyannis.
LORING M LAWRENCE
195 Lancelot Avenue,
New Hampshire 03104-1420