Plan to expand Amtrak service into Berkshires proposed
Eric Anderson is reporting for the Times Union the city of Albany could get a seasonal weekend train to the Berkshires, if a plan to extend the existing Empire Service to Pittsfield from Manhattan and Rensselaer is approved. The Berkshire Flyer Working Group determined the extension would not require any significant capital investment. The total cost for operating one round trip each weekend during the summer and fall months would be $425,000. If the service attracted 2,600 passengers over that period, the cost would be reduced to $240,000. Once financing for the proposal is secured, the service could be in place as soon as 2019. Under the service envisioned, Amtrak train #255 would leave Penn Station in New York City at 2:20 p.m. and arrive in Pittsfield at 6:10 p.m. On the return trip, train #244 would depart Pittsfield at 2:45 p.m. and arrive at Penn State at 6:45 p.m. The next step is to find financial support to pay for a service launch and a one- to two-year pilot program. If the Berkshire train proves successful, the service could be further expanded, with potential additional stops in West Stockbridge, Mass. and Chatham, Columbia County. Read the full story in the Times Union.