Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Saratoga County

Tourist train service to be restored to Northern Berkshires

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Albany/HV: Tourist train service to be restored to Northern Berkshires
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A tourist train service will soon connect a city and town in the Northern Berkshires. YNN's Madeleine Rivera has more on the developments and how this could bring some much needed tourist traffic to those two places.


NORTHERN BERKSHIRES, Mass. -- Just a year and a half ago, tourist trains were a topic of conversation among local officials. The idea quickly gathered steam. Now, plans are on track to start a passenger train service between North Adams and Adams.

"That conversation went to another level in 2012 with the Department of Transportation. And, we went from there. And, here we are today," said Jay Green from the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum.

The four mile stretch of tracks that runs between city and the town is right now only used by freight trains from Pan Am Railways. But, the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum wants to start a tourist train that would use the same tracks. Another one mile of track will also be restored to reach the Adams Visitors Center, sharing the right of way with the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail.

"It's really the key to bringing people from outside the community into our community," said Jonathan Butler, town administrator of Adams.

Butler says the service would boost the economy of the city and town.

"We have beautiful infrastructure, beautiful amenities and parks. But, now having a destination that's going to boost outside traffic should really boost the stimulus of our economy," said Butler.

"We're really just hoping this will be another reason why people need to visit Northern Berkshires," said Mayor Richard Alcombright of North Adams.

The project touches on the county's railroad history.

"We're very used to the trains here. There's a strong train culture in the community," said Alcombright.

Although no price tag has been set, MASS DOT is footing a large portion of the cost. Engineering design and construction will take place throughout this year, and service is expected to start in 2014.

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