UPDATE: Five years in the making, Berkshire Flyer's inaugural run from New York City to Pittsfield a 'sold out' success
Editor's Note: This story was originally published Friday, July 8.
NEW YORK — As Train 1235 pulled away from Gate 6 at the Moynihan Train Station, an announcer welcomed passengers to the new Berkshire Flyer line with a phrase not heard in New York City in more than 50 years — “This train is en route to Pittsfield.”
When the inaugural trip of the Berkshire Flyer left the station at 3:15 p.m., headed north toward Yonkers, the Amtrak website had a notice proclaiming the train “sold out.”
On board the train, early cars filled up with passengers on their way to stations in Croton-Harmon, Poughkeepsie or Albany.
At the back of the train, however, in two cars set aside for Pittsfield-bound travelers, a handful of empty seats could be seen.
Among the train’s riders is state Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, traveling the line he’s spent the last five years advocating for.
Hinds said Amtrak staff told him that about 63 seats have been sold for the full length of the line.
Five years in the making, Berkshire Flyer's inaugural run from New York City to Pittsfield a 'sold out' success
The arriving train will be greeted by local and state officials, including Jamey Tesler, the state Secretary of Transportation.
Meredith Slesinger, the state rail and transit administrator, is aboard for the debut trip.
The train is due in at 7:12 p.m. at the Joseph Scelsi Transportation Center at 1 Columbus Ave., just west of North Street in downtown Pittsfield.
Tesler’s office was billing the evening gathering, on the indoor upper level of the center, as a “celebratory event” for the launch of Berkshire Flyer passenger train service.