Wednesday May 2, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Amtrak has temporarily relocated its passenger stop in Pittsfield while CSX Railroad continues work on the rail line.

Instead of the Joseph A. Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center on Columbus Avenue, arriving and departing Amtrak passenger trains are now stopping at a platform located in front of the CSX Yard Office at 1355 East St. CSX work on the line near the Intermodal Transportation Center prompted the relocation.

The temporary site is approximately two miles east of Amtrak's regular passenger stop in Pittsfield, according to the company.

Amtrak plans to utilize the East Street site through November, company spokesman Cliff Cole said. Amtrak passenger trains that arrive and depart from Pittsfield include the Lake Shore Limited, which runs between Boston and Chicago.

Passenger trains originally began embarking and departing from the East Street site two weeks ago, which initially caused some confusion at the Intermodal Transportation Center.

"It was kind of hectic," said a woman who works at the Peter Pan Bus counter in the Inter modal Transportation Center. "But Amtrak did come over and ask what they could do."

Pamphlets announcing the site change are posted both inside the Intermodal Transportation Center and at the doorway that leads to the passenger train stop, which is actually located beneath the Columbus Avenue structure.

"They were not easy to see," she said.

The Berkshire Regional Transit Authority operates the Intermodal Transportation Center, but BRTA officials could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

BRTA's No. 14 bus runs weekdays from the Intermodal center down East Street past Amtrak's temporary passenger stop.

Amtrak has already posted signs near the boarding area of its temporary spot on East Street. The East Street boarding platform is accessible to passengers with limited mobility, but there is no waiting area or shelter. Parking at the new site is extremely limited, and overnight parking is unavailable.

Amtrak suggests that passengers be either dropped off or picked up at the East Street spot.

Cole said Amtrak selected the East Street site for use as a temporary passenger stop because it was "the best location available."

CSX is replacing or raising six bridges in Western Mas sachusetts, including three in the Berkshires, so that CSX can run double-stack freight cars between Selkirk, N.Y., and Worcester. According to CSX, the double-stack freight cars carry containers that would otherwise have to be moved by trucks on overcrowded highways.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6224.
On Twitter: @tonydobrow