Time was, summer tourists from New York City could hop on a train to Tanglewood. Those days ended decades ago, but now transportation officials are raising the specter of a Big Apple-Berkshires rail connection again, as soon as 2019.
A working group formed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation this week concluded that rail service between New York and western Mass. could be established again during summer weekends — so long as they can find a way to pay for it.
The “Berkshire Flyer” proposal, which borrows its name from the seasonal CapeFlyer trains that run between Boston and Hyannis on summer weekends, would bring New Yorkers north on Fridays and send them home on Sundays over 20 warm-weather weekends. The service would cost up to $520,000 a year.
Officials considered multiple proposals, including one that would require new trains and tracks. But instead they believe the cheapest, easiest option is to simply add another stop, in Pittsfield, for the existing train service between New York City and Albany, about a four-hour trip.