Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, the route's northern end. Click to enlarge.

(Pi.1415926535, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


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The Berkshire Flyer is a seasonal Amtrak passenger train service between New York City and the Berkshire Mountains in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, via the Hudson Valley. The weekly train departs Penn Station on Friday afternoons during the summer and returns on Sundays. The route's inaugural season ran from July 8 to September 5, 2022, as part of a pilot program set to run through summer 2023.


In 2014, Massachusetts proposed moving ahead with plans for commuter rail service between the Berkshires and New York City. Eight round trips per day would have followed the Housatonic Railroad from Pittsfield through Connecticut to Southeast, New York, where they would have taken the Harlem Line to Grand Central Terminal. Four stops were proposed in Berkshire County: Pittsfield, Lee, Great Barrington, and Sheffield. The commuter rail project failed to progress due to disinterest from the administration of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.

In 2017, the Massachusetts legislature began new efforts toward a summer tourist train, not commuter rail, between New York City and the Berkshires. Eddie Sporn, a Berkshire-based consultant, was researching the topic of restoring passenger rail service and sent an outline of plans to State Senator Adam Hinds. The plan for the "Berkshire Flyer" was modeled on the CapeFLYER, a popular seasonal train between Boston and Cape Cod. The proposal routed the train on the Empire Corridor through New York State rather than Connecticut. In September the legislature empaneled a working group consisting of MassDOT representatives, government officials, business leaders, and involved citizens to work on the project.

MassDOT released a Berkshire Flyer feasibility study in March 2018 in which three alternatives were studied. The first option (which was ultimately selected) was to extend an Empire Service round trip from Albany–Rensselaer to Pittsfield. The second option would have added a new limited-stop express train on this route, saving 10 to 12 minutes. The third would have added a new train that skipped Albany–Rensselaer by traversing the Schodack Subdivision, cutting 18 miles (29 km) and saving 20 minutes. NYSDOT stated it would not support a service that did not stop at all Empire Corridor stations. The report also raised the possibility of a new Amtrak station in Chatham, New York, but this was not evaluated due to its large capital costs.

In May 2018, the Massachusetts Senate approved funds for a two-year pilot of the Berkshire Flyer. The service would be a seasonal extension of a weekend Empire Service round trip to Pittsfield. The trial was scheduled to begin in June 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and outstanding questions around the program's legal sponsorship. The pilot was rescheduled for summers 2022 and 2023. In April 2022, Amtrak announced that the first trip would depart on July 8. Tickets went on sale on May 25, starting at $45 one way.

Service began as announced on July 8, 2022, with train 1235 departing on-time from Penn Station. Several local and state officials were aboard the first train, while others greeted it in Pittsfield. The season ended with a southbound trip on September 5, running on Labor Day instead of Sunday. Feedback on the route was positive, though many passengers desired the option to spend more time in Pittsfield, saying the limited schedule was inconvenient. Supporters hope the schedule can be expanded for the 2023 season.


As scheduled, the Berkshire Flyer departs New York Penn Station on Fridays at 3:16 PM and arrives at Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center in Pittsfield at 7:12 PM. The reverse trip is made Sundays, departing Pittsfield at 3:00 PM and arriving at Penn Station at 7:05 PM. Intermediate stops are made in both directions at Yonkers, Croton–Harmon, Poughkeepsie, Rhinecliff, Hudson, and Albany–Rensselaer, the same stops as a typical Empire Service train. In Pittsfield, passengers are welcomed by "ambassadors" who provide information and assist in wayfinding.

Route details

The Berkshire Flyer operates over CSX Transportation, Metro-North Railroad, and Amtrak trackage:

CSX Berkshire Subdivision: Pittsfield to Schodack, New York
Amtrak Post Road Branch: Schodack to Rensselaer
CSX Hudson Subdivision: Rensselaer to Poughkeepsie (leased to Amtrak)
Metro-North Railroad Hudson Line: Poughkeepsie to Spuyten Duyvil
Amtrak Empire Connection: Spuyten Duyvil to New York Penn Station
Though the Berkshire Flyer is the first and only Amtrak train to offer a direct ride between New York City and Pittsfield without layovers, all sections of the route are served by other Amtrak trains. The line between New York City and Rensselaer is part of Amtrak's Empire Corridor, while service between Rensselaer and Pittsfield is provided by the Lake Shore Limited.


Service type: Inter-city rail
Status: Pilot, seasonal
Locale: Hudson Valley and Berkshires
First service: July 8, 2022
Current operator: Amtrak
Termini: New York City, New York / Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Distance traveled: 190 miles (306 km)
Average journey time: 4 hours
Service frequency: One trip northbound on Friday, one trip southbound on Sunday
Train numbers: 1235, 1244
On-board services
Catering facilities: Amfleet Cafe
Rolling stock: Amfleet Coaches
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Track owners: MNRR, Amtrak, CSXT


190 mi / 306 km - Pittsfield

141 mi / 227 km - Albany–Rensselaer (Train reverses)
114 mi / 183 km - Hudson
100 mi / 161 km - Rhinecliff–Kingston
80 mi / 129 km - Poughkeepsie
40 mi / 64 km - Croton–Harmon
18 mi / 29 km - Yonkers
0  - New York City