The Massachusetts Coastal Railroad (reporting mark MC) is the successor operator of portions of Bay Colony Railroad.
On December 31, 2007, the contract to operate the freight railroad lines owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts administered by the Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) expired. These railroad lines included the Cape Main Line, as well as several shorter lines both on Cape Cod and in Southeastern Massachusetts. The new contract was awarded to a new company, the Massachusetts Coastal Railroad, which took over on January 1, 2008. At that time, the Bay Colony ceased operations on those lines, but continues to operate in other areas of the Commonwealth, including on the Watuppa Branch in Dartmouth and Wesport, and the Millis Branch in Millis.
The Massachusetts Coastal Railroad is a subsidiary of Cape Rail Inc., which also operates the Cape Cod Central Railroad. Cape Rail is owned by Iowa Pacific Holdings.
The Massachusetts Coastal Railroad also operates under the abbreviated name Mass Coastal Railroad. This shortened version is the variation currently used on all of the Massachusetts Coastal's locomotives and rolling stock.
The railroad operates the "trash train" hauling refuse from Yarmouth to SEMASS, a waste-to-energy plant in Rochester, MA, as did its predecessor. However, Massachusetts Coastal operates the train under the new name, "Energy Train" using 20 former Canadian Pacific bath tub coal hopper cars rebuilt into "Energy" cars. These "Energy Cars" are numbered 1000–1019. These cars are painted in an attractive Pullman green scheme with a black band. The first 6 cars were fully painted with "MASS COASTAL" lettering, and "ENERGY TRAIN" written along the sides and gold stripes. the remaining 14 cars are in an abbreviated scheme with no lettering or stripes. This was done to speed up the delivery process. As of January 2015, the Energy Train operates Monday through Friday in the morning and afternoon. Mostly on Tuesdays, Mass Coastal sends a locomotive or two from either Rochester or Taunton to interchange with CSX in Middleboro. Operations in Fall River, New Bedford, and Taunton can be seen some days Monday through Friday.
Along with business on the Cape Main, the railroad operates several times a week on the Dean Street industrial track in Taunton, MA.
Mass Coastal does not operate freight trains on Sundays or holidays unless needed.
The Cape Cod Central Railroad is owned by the same parent company, and operates passenger trains as a heritage railroad. A plan to start "Mass Coastal" commuter rail service between Middleborough and Buzzards Bay or Sandwich in 2010 has not been implemented as of 2013, but the seasonal CapeFLYER train started running to Hyannis in summer 2013.
In 2012, Chicago-based Iowa Pacific Holdings acquired Cape Rail, Inc and its subsidiaries Mass Coastal and Cape Cod Central.
Mass Coastal took over CSX tracks from Taunton, MA to Fall River and New Bedford, MA. The railroad continues to operate track south from the connection with CSX at Cotley Junction in Taunton to both New Bedford and Fall River.
Mass Coastal operates with five locomotives; numbered 2006 through 2010. The 2006 is an ex-ATSF GP7u (previously BNSF 1336), the 2007 is a similar ex-ATSF GP9u (previously BNSF 1664), the 2008 is an ex-Canadian National GP9RM and the 2009 is an ex IC GP28. All Mass Coastal locomotives rotate jobs throughout the year. Usually, 1 locomotive handles the Energy Train, 2 handle the Cape Cod Central tourist trains, and the 2 others handle the Fall River and New Bedford Lines. All MC units are to eventually be equipped with cab signals, enabling them to traverse the CSX interchange in Middleborough, MA. As of September 2015, 2008 and 2009 are so equipped. All of the locomotives are painted in an attractive Cranberry Red scheme with a black band and yellow stripes and lettering. The two exceptions to the paint scheme are engines 2006 and 2007. After a main generator failure in early 2009, the 2007 re-emerged with a new generator and yellow safety stripes on the front pilots. Soon after, this the unit was transferred to Taunton. It replaced 2006 which came to Hyannis and had the yellow stripes painted on both the front and rear plow. In 2009, a fourth engine was acquired numbered 2009; A GP28 built by EMD in 1964 for the Illinois Central Railroad. This engine was purchased from National Rail Equipment in Silvis, Illinois. In late 2010, the railroad purchased their fifth locomotive, a GP50 #2010. This engine is a former Chicago North Western unit.