Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Oscars 2017
Everything you need to know and seeDon't Miss It


Mark Snider's in Training, So Cape Cod's Cranberry Bogs Are but a Whistle-Stop Away

Posted on

Marooned in a sea of swiftly overheating cars, Mark Snider was enduring yet another Cape Cod traffic snarl one hot August afternoon in 1980. The cause of the tie-up was a lengthy freight train laboring through a highway crossing. But rather than swear at the offending freight, Snider found himself smiling. Inspiration had struck.

Today Snider, 26, presides over the Cape Cod & Hyannis Railroad, which chugged into operation the summer after that traffic jam on the strength of a $55,000 loan from a company owned by his father, a resort developer. Rolling along 46 miles of existing track between Hyannis and Falmouth, the railroad has ferried more than 80,000 passengers and grossed roughly $1.5 million this year. Running between April and November, the CC&H offers a variety of junkets, from the $19.75 train/boat combo to Martha’s Vineyard to the $5 Sunset Special that scoots along the coastline.

Nicknamed “Sparky” by his staff, Snider spent the winter of 1980-81 lining up equipment, setting up stations and finding skilled crews. His engine is a silver Alco diesel from 1947 and his favorite find is a 1912 parlor car bought at auction for $23,000. As president of CC&H, Snider is paying himself a modest $20,000 for 1983, the first year his railroad has been in the black.

Snider’s interest in transportation dates to his childhood in Chestnut Hill, Mass. and a basement train set. Summers in Nantucket fostered a fascination with the sea as well. During his school vacations he worked as a steamship ticket seller on Martha’s Vineyard, and at the University of Pennsylvania his thesis was titled A Venture in Marine Transportation.

A bachelor, Snider rents apartments in both Hyannis and Boston. His burgeoning career as a transportation tycoon has done nothing to diminish his wanderlust. “My greatest fantasy,” confesses Snider, “is to take a freighter all around South America, the South Seas and Tahiti, then maybe travel the Orient Express. I love to travel,” he I rails, “but never by plane.”