|Berkshire Flyer Will Connect New York to Pittsfield This Summer|
|08:18PM / Monday, April 25, 2022|
|New Yorkers will be able leave Penn Station around 3 and be at the Intermodal Center in Pittsfield by 7 p.m. on a Friday. |
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The long awaited Berkshire Flyer begins service on July 8, providing weekend transportation between New York City and Pittsfield.
The pilot season for the seasonal passenger rail service has been under consideration since the launch of the successful, decade-old CapeFlyer that brings tourists from Boston to Cape Cod and back during the summer.
The line is being run by Amtrak in conjunction with the Massachusetts and New York Departments of Transportation over the next two years. The Berkshire Flyer will include a Friday afternoon departure from New York's Penn Station to Pittsfield via Albany-Rensselaer in New York. A return trip will be provided on Sunday afternoons. Each train will make several station stops.
"This critical link will boost our regional economy through tourism and by allowing us to base more remote workers in the Berkshires," said state Sen. Adam Hinds. "This has been years in the making, and the Department of Transportation has been an outstanding partner."
The Berkshire Flyer will be mainly for tourists but officials are still hopeful that more meaningful service to Boston and New York City will come to pass.
"We are pleased to work together with our partner agencies to run passenger train service between Pittsfield and New York City on weekends during the busiest tourist times this summer," said Gov. Charlie Baker. "Western Massachusetts and the Berkshire Region offer a whole host of cultural and recreational opportunities during the summer and we hope this pilot service will encourage even more visitors to this part of our state."
The Berkshire Flyer pilot's success will be evaluated to further understand the feasibility and demand of the service before continuing it, deciding on its schedule if it is to continue, and identifying specific infrastructure improvements or service changes that may be necessary.
The Berkshire Flyer will depart from New York Penn Station at 3:16 p.m. on Fridays and arrive at Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center, 1 Columbus Ave., Pittsfield at 7:12 p.m. The train will make all the intermediate station stops as the typical Amtrak Empire Service train does on Fridays, which include Yonkers, N.Y., Croton-Harmon, N.Y., Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Rhinecliff, N.Y., Hudson, N.Y., and Albany-Rensselaer Station. The Sunday return trip, making all the same station stops, will depart Pittsfield at 3 p.m. and arrive in New York at 7:05 p.m.
"Berkshire County is home to art, culture, history, and hospitality, and the Berkshire Flier line will enable more people to experience it," said U.S. Rep. Richard. E. Neal, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means. "I have been a proud supporter of this initiative from the start, and I am grateful to the folks at Amtrak, MassDOT, and NYSDOT for making it a reality."
Efforts to evaluate passenger rail service between the Berkshires and New York have been ongoing since 2018, during which time conversations about the service have involved Berkshire County groups, municipal officials, and elected leaders. Amtrak, MassDOT, and NYSDOT have collaborated with CSX Transportation to prepare for the service's start up this year after an agreement was reached with CSX to utilize its tracks.
Berkshire Flyer customers can expect the same amenities onboard as they do on all other Amtrak trains including, free Wi-Fi, the freedom to use phones and electronic devices at all times (no “airplane mode”), the ability to travel with small pets on many trains, large spacious seats with ample leg room, no middle seat, and one of the most generous baggage policies in the travel industry, applicable for two personal items and two carry-on bags.
Tickets are not yet available but will be sold beginning in May and can be available for purchase on Amtrak.com, the Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket desks and kiosks, and through 1-800-USA-RAIL.