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Berkshire Flyer passenger train service begins July 8 • The Greylock Glass

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PITTSFIELD — Amtrak, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), is announcing the launch of pilot seasonal rail service this year and in 2023 under the name of Berkshire Flyer, with a route between New York and Pittsfield, MA. The service will launch on July 8 and will operate on weekends during the summer months with a similar schedule next year. The Berkshire Flyer will include a Friday afternoon departure from New York’s Penn Station in Pittsfield, MA, via Albany-Rensselaer, NY. A round trip will be provided on Sunday afternoon. Each train will make several stops at the station.

“We are excited to work with our partner agencies to provide weekend passenger train service between Pittsfield and New York during peak tourist times this summer,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Western Massachusetts and the Berkshire area offer a wealth 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.”

“I want to thank Connecticut Valley Area officials for working with our administration to launch this pilot passenger rail service,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The Berkshire Flyer will allow residents to travel easily to take advantage of opportunities to visit museums, attend concerts, shop, hike and bike, and enjoy all that Massachusetts has to offer. to offer.”

“Amtrak is thrilled to be able to provide this long-awaited service to our partners at MassDOT and NYSDOT,” said Stephen Gardner, President and CEO of Amtrak. “We appreciate CSX’s support and cooperation for the Berkshire Flyer service, which will provide a more comfortable and convenient transportation option, which is also more environmentally friendly, for people traveling between New York and Berkshire County. as well as easy access to musical performances at Tanglewood.

The success of the Berkshire Flyer pilot will be assessed to better understand the feasibility and demand for the service before continuing the service, deciding on its timeline whether to continue, and identifying specific infrastructure improvements or service changes that might be needed.

The Berkshire Flyer will depart New York Penn Station at 3:16 p.m. on Friday and arrive at the Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center, 1 Columbus Ave, Pittsfield at 7:12 p.m. The train will make all mid-station stops like the Empire Amtrak typical. The train service does Fridays which includes Yonkers, NY, Croton-Harmon, NY, Poughkeepsie, NY, Rhinecliff, NY, Hudson, NY and Albany-Rensselaer Station. The Sunday round trip, making all the same station stops, will depart Pittsfield at 3:00 p.m. and arrive in New York at 7:05 p.m.

“We are thrilled to partner with Amtrak, New York State and CSX to launch Berkshire Flyer rail service. This service is an example of how we can provide more transportation options and use our rail network to support Massachusetts communities and increase economic vitality in various regions, said Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “We appreciate the efforts of city officials, members of the Massachusetts Legislative Assembly, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, CSX and the business community to support this environmentally friendly and efficient alternative to driving.”

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez added, “Riding the rails is a great way to experience all the beauty and natural splendor that New York State and the entire Northeast region has to offer, and we are proud to partner with our colleagues at Amtrak and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on this exciting service. Under the leadership of Governor Kathy Hochul, New York State has committed to creating a 21st A century-old transportation system that brings people together and creates economic opportunity for all and this new service is another step towards achieving that goal.

“CSX will honor our commitment to pilot a new passenger service, the Berkshire Flyer, which will operate between New York and Pittsfield, MA on our network this summer,” said CSX Senior Director of Passenger Operations Andy Daly. “CSX has a long history of working in partnership on projects that benefit both passenger and freight rail service and we look forward to bringing New England stakeholders a safer and more reliable freight rail network soon through our acquisition of Pan Am.”

“Passenger rail is an essential ingredient for a healthy economy, a healthy environment and a healthy workforce,” said US Senator Ed Markey. “Improving the rail is an important step in fighting climate change, increasing economic opportunity and continuing to grow the tourism industry in the Berkshires.”

“Berkshire County is home to art, culture, history and hospitality, and the Berkshire Flier line will allow more people to experience it,” said Congressman Richard. E.Neal, Chairman of the Parliamentary Ways and Means Committee. “I’ve been a proud supporter of this initiative from the start, and I’m grateful to the folks at Amtrak, MassDOT and NYSDOT for making it a reality.”

State Senator Adam Hinds added: “This essential link will boost our regional economy through tourism and by allowing us to base more remote workers in the Berkshires. It took years and the Ministry of Transportation was an exceptional partner. »

Efforts to assess passenger rail service between the Berkshires and New York have been underway since 2018, during which time a pilot service ran and conversations about the service involved Berkshire County groups, city officials and residents. elected. Amtrak, MassDOT and NYSDOT worked with CSX Transportation to prepare for service to start this year after an agreement was reached with CSX to use its tracks.

Berkshire Flyer customers can expect the same onboard amenities as on all other Amtrak trains, including free Wi-Fi, the freedom to use phones and electronics at any time (no “flight mode”). ), the ability to travel with small pets on many trains, large spacious seats with plenty of leg room, no middle seat and one of the most generous baggage policies in the industry of the trip, applicable for two personal effects and two hand luggage.

Tickets are not yet available but will go on sale beginning in May and can be purchased on Amtrak.com, the Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket offices and kiosks, and through 1-800-USA-RAIL.

For more information on MassDOT, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-department-of-transportation.

To learn more about NYSDOT, please visit: https://www.dot.ny.gov/index.