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A new train service between NYC and the Berkshires could launch as soon as 2019

By Clayton Guse

Escaping to the Berkshires for a cheap summer getaway is about to get a lot easier.

Earlier this week, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation released a feasibility study that detailed the prospect of launching a new Amtrak train service between New York City and Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The concept is dubbed the Berkshire Flyer and would operate between the two cities on 20 warm-weather weekends.

New Yorkers are already able to travel to the Berkshires by Amtrak, but only with an hour-plus layover upstate in Albany that comes with a confusing ticket-buying process.  So rather than building new tracks and trains, the report concluded that the easiest way to get this service off the ground would be to add another stop in Pittsfield to the existing service between New York City and Albany. The trip would take roughly four hours and is estimated to cost $65 to $90 each way.

If approved, the Berkshire Flyer could begin operating as soon as next summer, but it'll need to overcome some financial humps first. The Boston Globe points out that the service would cost Amtrak up to $520,000 per year and would generate an estimated ticket revenue of $185,000. So in order to get it up and running, advocates would need to fill a hole of more than $340,000. 

When compared to the cost of doing business in New York City, that’s peanuts. And if a few hundred thousand dollars are all that stand between New Yorkers and a delightful summer weekend getaway option, you can bet that the Flyer’s proponents won’t have too much trouble filling that funding gap. 

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