Senate has approved study of NYC to Pittsfield train service

Proposed service would run between Memorial Day weekend and Columbus Day weekend

BOSTON (WWLP) – Seasonal train service between New York City and the Berkshires could eventually become a reality. Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate adopted a budget amendment filed by Sen. Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield) to study the possibility of creating a service that would run between Memorial Day and Columbus Day weekends.

The idea is modeled after the CapeFLYER, which provides passenger service between Boston and Hyannis on weekends during the summer.

Sen. Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield) is seen here in a WWLP file image

Hinds’ amendment would have MassDOT create a working group that would collaborate with officials in New York state to look at the feasibility of service between New York City and Pittsfield, with recommendations to be completed by the beginning of March 2018.

Hinds says that passenger rail service to the Berkshires would have great economic benefits for the region, and would also be beneficial for New Yorkers who might want to visit the area, but have possibly been deterred by the hours-long drive.

“We know passenger train service to western Mass. would be a game changer. It would boost the local economy and impact population decline. This is a necessary start to the process of running trains from New York City to the Berkshires,” Hinds said.

While the amendment has been added to the Senate budget, that chamber’s budget, once approved, will have to make it through a conference committee, whose job it is to come up with a final budget based on the Senate and House versions. That final budget will then be submitted to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature. Hinds says that he will advocate for the language of his amendment to be included in the final budget.