Amtrak’s newest route will start as a seasonal pilot service for 2022 and 2023 in conjunction with MassDOT and NYSDOT
NEW YORK – Amtrak, in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), is now selling tickets for its newest train service, the Berkshire Flyer, for travel between New York City and Pittsfield, MA via Amtrak.com, the Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket desks and kiosks, and through 1-800-USA-RAIL. Service will begin Friday, July 8 and will operate on weekends through the summer months between Moynihan Train Hall and Pittsfield, MA, via Albany-Rensselaer, NY with several station stops in between.
“Travelers who want to enjoy a summer weekend in the quaint valley towns of the Berkshires or experience all New York City has to offer can now do so sustainably, without being in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and while taking in the scenery of the Catskill Mountains all at once via Amtrak,” said Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner. “The new Berkshire Flyer service highlights the continuing growing demand of train travel throughout this country, and we are proud to meet this demand with our partners at MassDOT, NYSDOT, and CSX.”
“We are pleased to work together with Amtrak and our partner agencies to offer passenger train service this summer between Pittsfield and New York City,” said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “The Berkshire Flyer will make it easy for the public to travel for work or leisure and to take advantage of opportunities to visit museums, attend concerts, shop, enjoy outdoor recreation and all that Massachusetts has to offer.”
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, NY, Croton-Harmon, NY, Poughkeepsie, NY, Rhinecliff, NY, Hudson, NY, and Albany-Rensselaer Station. The Sunday return 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.
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, and no middle seat.
The Berkshire Flyer pilot’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. Efforts to evaluate passenger rail service between the Berkshires and New York 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. 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.