Taking Off July 8: Amtrak’s Berkshire Flyer

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The Berkshire Flyer will operate on weekends through the summer months in 2022 with a similar schedule next year.

The Berkshire Flyer will operate on weekends through the summer months in 2022 with a similar schedule next year.

Amtrak and the Massachusetts and New York State departments of transportation will run the Berkshire Flyer as a seasonal pilot service between New York City and Pittsfield, Mass., beginning July 8.

The passenger rail pilot will operate on weekends through the summer months with a similar schedule next year under an agreement with host freight railroad CSX, the groups reported on April 26.

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 in 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, including Yonkers, Croton-Harmon, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Hudson, and Albany-Rensselaer Station in New York. The Sunday return trip, making all the same station stops, will depart Pittsfield at 3:00 p.m. and arrive in New York City at 7:05 p.m. Tickets sales start in May.

Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner

Efforts to evaluate New York-to-the Berkshires passenger rail have been ongoing since 2018, “during which time pilot service has operated and conversations about the service have involved Berkshire County groups, municipal officials and elected leaders,” according to Amtrak.

“America’s Railroad” noted that the new service’s success “will be evaluated to further understand the feasibility and demand of the service before continuing the service, deciding on its schedule if it is to continue, and identifying specific infrastructure improvements or service changes that may be necessary.”

“We’re appreciative of the support and cooperation of CSX for the Berkshire Flyer service, which will offer a more comfortable and convenient transportation option that’s also more environmentally friendly, for people traveling between New York City and Berkshire County, along with easy access to musical performances at Tanglewood,” said Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner, who was recently selected by Railway Age readers as an “Influential Leader” for 2022.

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

“I would like to thank officials in the Connecticut Valley Region for working with our Administration to launch this pilot passenger rail service,” Massachusetts Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “The Berkshire Flyer will make it easy for residents to travel to take advantage of opportunities to visit museums, attend concerts, shop, enjoy hiking and bicycling, and enjoy all that Massachusetts has to offer.”

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