'Berkshire Flyer' to start running in 2020 between NYC and Massachusetts

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Flyer, a two-year pilot program to provide "one seat" passenger service from New York City to Berkshire County in Massachusetts, will move ahead, as funding for the program was included in the state's budget signed into law Wednesday.

The program will receive "not less than $270,000" for its inaugural year, set to begin in Spring 2020, according to a representative of state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, who spearheaded the project. There is also $30,000 set aside for a project manager, and $100,000 earmarked for marketing the trains.

The Flyer is expected to start as a seasonal, weekend train running between New York Penn Station and Pittsfield. The connection point would be Amtrak's Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y., station, where the north-south Empire Corridor connects with the east-west line to Boston. One train would run from New York to Pittsfield on Friday, and another would run the opposite way on Sunday. The service would run from Memorial Day through Columbus Day weekends. A ticket is expected to cost about $70 each way.

With funding secured, now comes the work of getting everything in place for next spring, the representative says. The state's Department of Transportation will begin working with Amtrak on schedules and other logistics. The state and the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority will need to iron out exactly how the program will run. The marketing plan will be implemented by 1Berkshire, the county's economic development and tourism council.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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