Bring Back the Trains

On July 16, 2014, MassDOT voted to enter into a contract with Housatonic Railroad Company to purchase the 37 miles of this corridor in MA and also to allocate $35 million for initial track improvements. The total commitment by MA is now $113 million, but some is dependent on CT and other funding.   The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a Passenger Rail Station Location and Design Analysis along the Housatonic Railroad line between Sheffield and downtown Pittsfield. This is a comprehensive planning study focused on evaluating the most feasible locations for passenger rail facilities within the communities of Sheffield, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lee and Lenox.

The Train Campaign: Bring Back the Trains from Diana Walczak on Vimeo.

Please support this rail revival by signing the petition to Bring Back the Trains! You can also help by forwarding this link to friends, family, and colleagues.

  1. The proposed route runs from Pittsfield, MA, crosses into CT at Sheffield/Canaan, goes south to New Milford, then over to the Metro-North station at Southeast.
  2. Passenger service requires modern rail tracks, and this upgrade is the majority of the cost of getting the service into operation.
  3. Plans are for an initial service with eight trains per day in each direction. Express trains are being considered.
  4. Travel time to Great Barrington will be approximately three hours. This is not a “high-speed” project because of the geography of the region.
  5. High-level platforms and the 10-mile minimum between stations are designed to improve travel times and preliminary schedules are in progress.
  6. CT is being asked to commit approximately $85 million, but other funding sources are being sought.
  7. Housatonic Railroad affirms that it will run the service without public subsidy.
  8. Stations are currently suggested for Pittsfield, Lee, and Great Barrington, for Canaan/Sheffield on the Massachusetts-Connecticut state line, and Cornwall Bridge, Kent, New Milford, and Brookfield/Danbury.
  9. There will be food service, wifi, and racks for bikes and skis. Will work with railroad communications and control systems and piggy back wifi on them.
  10. Ticket prices will be similar to those of Metro-North’s fare structure, in the range of 25 cents per mile.
  11. The actual time to do the reconstruction of the rail line, purchase and fit rail cars and locomotives, and build stations between Danbury, Connecticut, and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, is three years.
  12. The estimated cost to restore passenger service to the Berkshires is $200 million. The funds will enable the railroad to rehabilitate the 90 mile rail line between Danbury and Pittsfield to passenger standards, recondition passenger locomotives, refurbish/purchase passenger coaches, and build or renovate stations.