Photo Gallery | Berkshire Scenic Railway sets schedule for Hoosac Valley line
ADAMS — As the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum continues to plot a course for the coming summer, it's looking for help from the community to get the final mile of rail built to complete the route to the new Adams station in fiscal 2017.
The schedule for weekend excursions on the Hoosac Valley line from North Adams to Adams will launch in May and run through September, according to scenic railway director Jay Green. The Fall Foliage schedule has also been set, with additional trips scheduled for a number of federal holidays.
As other excursions are being developed, scenic railway officials are working with the city of North Adams and the town of Adams to complete the application process to get funding to construct the final stretch of rail. Green said the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which will do the work, needs the application to be submitted to be able to devote money in the budget to the project.
One of the things MassDOT will require is significant community feedback in the form of letters from local residents expressing support for the project and its benefits to the local economy, Green said.
"As of right now, we have to petition MassDOT to get the work programmed into the budget for fiscal 2017," Green said. "We need overwhelming community support to ask MassDOT to budget for this work."
Green said his understanding is that all the materials have already been purchased, they just need to fund the permitting and labor.
Meanwhile, the terminal platform in North Adams has been installed, and as soon as the weather breaks, the railway's operation will relocate from Adams to North Adams.
"Rail operations are solidified and we don't anticipate any scheduling issues," Green said. "The community can expect rides every Saturday and Sunday, and on many holidays."
Scheduling is set so far for four trips every Saturday and Sunday from May 28 to Sept. 18; and for Fall Foliage from Sept. 28 through Oct. 18.
There will also be holiday excursions on federal holidays Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Trips are also planned for Columbus Day.
The Christmas holidays will be marked with trips on the Tinseliner Express every weekend from Nov. 25 through Dec. 18.
It will be a celebration in the style of a post-WWII Christmas, Green said.
Friday Night Rail Cruises are in development, and the train is available for charter excursion by local companies or groups looking for a different way to celebrate accomplishments or benchmarks.
Meanwhile, other improvements still are needed to enhance the operation, Green said.
Once the caboose and welcome coach, which serve as office space and ticket sales space respectively, are moved to the North Adams location, there will be no power to the two cars. A transformer needs to be installed along with the grid hook-up, along with some outlets and circuit breakers, at a cost of about $10,000.
Green said the railway doesn't have the funding, and neither town can afford to help. So they are seeking alternate sources of financing.
The Hoosac Valley line also is seeking volunteers to help run the operation.
"Training starts in March, so folks should let us know by the end of February," Green noted.
He said passengers can buy tickets ahead of time online, or at the welcome coach the day of the ride. Group ticketing is also available.
All trains depart from North Adams station, 98 Crowley Ave., North Adams
2016 Summer Excursion Service
Saturdays and Sundays May 28 - Sept. 18
Will Operate: Memorial Day, Monday, May 30; Independence Day, Monday, July 4; and Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5
Departures: 10 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 3 p.m.
2016 Fall Foliage Excursions
Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 24 - Oct. 16
Will Operate: Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 10
Departures:: 10 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.; 3 p.m.
2016 Fall Special Event Trains
Saturday, Oct. 22 and 29; Sunday, Oct. 23 and 30
Details and departure times to be announced
2016 Friday Night Rail Cruises
Select Friday evenings, July-October
Details to be announced
2016 Tinseliner Vintage Christmas Experience
Friday, Saturday and Sundays, Nov. 25 - Dec. 18
Details and departure times to be announced
$11 Senior Citizen (65+) and Active Duty Armed Forces
$8 Child (ages 4-12)
Discounts not available with online sales. Special event fares may be slightly higher.
Available for groups of 20-60 passengers by reservation only on a regularly scheduled Summer or Fall Excursion Train. No other discounts apply. Groups of 60 or more must charter entire the entire train. Please contact us for more