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Prior to the Railroad Wharf in Hyannis Port, the nearest port for ships travelling to and from Nantucket was New Bedford, 80 nautical miles away. With the arrival of the Old Colony Railroad in the village of Hyannis, it made sense to extend the tracks a mile or so south and build a large wharf to shorten the trip to just 25 miles. 

After construction, the wharf became a major port of call for passengers and freight between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, connected to Boston and other cities by train.

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