Thanks, Mr. Nelligan. I think the last year I stayed at Grey Gables was 1988 or 1989, so the smash boards could have been gone after that.
I remember that when they came down, they came down fast and bounced back up a little bit before settling.
Great pictures. The two on the Cape side show how much worse the track to Falmouth was in those years, or maybe more to the point how much better the other track was. It was notable right past the turnout: the Falmouth line had less ballast and old ties and was not as well maintained; the line to Hyannis had many, many new ties, notably black and creosotey on a thick layer of ballast.
It was also notable that there was no paved or even filled official crossing near the bridge, so one just had to walk across the track, often across the turnout itself, to get from the parking lot on the one side to the paved bike trail on the other. There was a timber crossing on the Hyannis line maybe a couple of hundred feet inland, with a dirt road leading to the bike trail IIRC, but to get there from the parking lot one would have had to cross the Falmouth line first, and I seriously doubt that anyone ever walked from the parking lot back out the entrance road across the grade crossing of the Falmouth line over to the grade crossing on the Hyannis line and back to the start of the bike trail. I guess it was not exactly a place where trains would blast through without warning
but over the years I have sometimes imagined someone setting their foot between the rail and the point and getting it caught when the switch suddenly moved (remote control from Buzzards Bay tower, I suppose, just like the split rail derails).
Oddly enough, I never saw the Cape Codder. I must have been there on several different days when it went by, and when I was at the cottage and heard the bridge horns warning boats that the bridge was closing I would often run over to a little beach from which I could see the bridge, and the Corps of Engineers boats that would go out to stop boat traffic at least on whichever side was upstream at that state of the tide. I guess I just never happened to do that at the right time on a Friday or a Sunday. I didn't know about the Amtrak train until a couple of years later, so I wasn't looking for it specifically. I remember being disappointed the first year; I found the previous year's CC&H timetable, which had several daily trains to Falmouth, and tried to use it to see one at the Grey Gables grade crossing -- but no Falmouth trains were running that year. I think a few did run in future years as connections with the Cape Codder at Buzzards Bay; at least one summer after 1988 there were CC&H trains that met a particular NEC train at Providence or South Attleboro or someplace like that, and then divided or met a train for the Falmouth Branch at Buzzards Bay. I saw them in the timetable but never rode one. Sorry; digression from the bridge....