Public Input Sought on Passenger Rail Plan

The possibility of extending passenger rail service remains a hot topic in western Massachusetts. Looking for a clearer sense of just what train service between Berkshire County and New York City might look like, rail planners are seeking public input at two meetings, the first in Lenox on Wednesday. Backers of expanded rail service in the Berkshires are proceeding anyway with plans to prepare for a day when the notion of re-connecting the county with train service to New York City is indeed feasible. 

A study is now underway to come up with potential options for passenger rail stations, funded by two hundred forty thousand dollars in Federal funds. The specifics of any eventual build-up could shift dramatically depending on what the public is looking for, according to Brian Domina of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission.

“How would they use the rail station and what do they expect when they get to a station? What amenities do they expect to have there?  Do they expect public transportation, rental cars, bike rentals, taxicabs? All those things we want to figure out.”

The public is invited to weigh in on this and other details at a public meeting Wednesday evening at Lenox Town Hall.

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is conducting the study along with Housatonic Railroad, the Connecticut based company which says it is considering extending passenger service from Pittsfield to Danbury, Connecticut, from which riders could travel to New York on the Metro-North commuter rail. 

Housatonic Railroad will make a short presentation at Wednesday’s meeting, which will begin at six pm. Another public input session will beheld at Great Barrington’s Monument Mountain Regional High School on July 10th. The train station study will include another year of research.