No explanation for derailment

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The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum is too important to South Berk shire County to simply go off the tracks for no apparent reason. We urge the Housatonic Railroad Company to reopen the door it has shut on a renewed operating agreement and allow our elected officials to mediate a solution.

It isn't clear if Housatonic, which has had a shaky relationship with Berkshire Scenic, is unhappy with the museum or with the state Department of Transportation, which was essentially the middleman in an expired operating agreement en abling Berkshire Scenic to use Housatonic's tracks for its 90-minute ride between Lenox and Stockbridge. Housatonic, which received $3 million in state DOT funds to maintain its tracks, is seeking public funding for its $200 million plan to operate passenger service between Pitts field and Danbury that would link up with Metro North for service to New York City.

Housatonic will need state and federal allies to realize its dreams. State and federal officials want to see Berkshire Scenic, which drew 16,000 patrons in 2011, stay in business. Housatonic officials should get together with Berkshire Scenic officials, state Representative "Smitty" Pignatelli of Lenox, state Senator Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield and 1st District Representa tive John Olver and hash out a new operating agreement that would be in the best interests of all. If this is impossible, Berkshire residents deserve to know why.

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