To the editor: I've been involved in the Berkshire Flyer project since its inception in 2017. ("Five years in the making, Berkshire Flyer's inaugural run from New York City to Pittsfield a 'sold out' success," Eagle, July 9.)

This is an incredible accomplishment. Examples of passenger rail service expansion around the country are rare. Many take decades if not longer to come to fruition. Here, it happened in five years. It would’ve taken less time if hadn't been for COVID.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation is correct in starting the train as a seasonal pilot. They employed this approach with the CapeFlyer (Boston to Cape Cod), which also began as a pilot project. After it proved viable, it transitioned into an annual summertime service. I should point out that our long-term goal is not summertime service but year-round service.

The assertion that the Berkshire Flyer pilot offers no transportation benefit for Berkshire County residents is incorrect. It is true that the pilot’s benefits are heavily skewed toward our visitors, who while here spend their dollars on dining, lodging, culture, etc. Yet the train offers Berkshire residents who work in New York City during the week the opportunity to forgo the arduous and expensive round-trip driving commute; it also offers residents the opportunity to visit NYC or to travel beyond NYC via rail.

I'm hoping that the success of the Berkshire Flyer will lay to rest any other plan for reconnecting the Berkshires with NYC. If the decision was made to transition the pilot into a year-round daily service, it would not take years of planning, environmental impact statements, NIMBY battles and construction to make this happen. The entire route is there. Certainly, there would be challenges and some new infrastructure may be required. But we're not talking decades, and we're certainly not talking about hundreds of millions of dollars to achieve year-round, daily passenger rail connectivity with NYC.

I'm proud to be working on this amazing project with state Sen. Adam Hinds, whose leadership and tenacity are beyond description, and consummate professionals such as Adams Town Administrator Jay Green; Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Director Thomas Matuszko and his excellent staff; Pittsfield Commissioners Ricardo Morales and Jen Glockner; Lindsey Schmid of 1Berkshire and her creative staff; Rebecca Brien of Downtown Pittsfield Inc. and her “ambassadors"; and staff from MassDOT. We've come a long way. We have a way to go, but we will get there.

Eddie Sporn, Housatonic