Amtrak Is Launching a New Route From New York City to the Berkshires Just in Time for Summer

The service will start as a pilot on July 8 and will be operated on the weekends throughout the summer with a similar schedule planned for next year.

Amtrak is heading to the Berkshires thanks to a new seasonal service the rail company is kicking off this summer.

The new route, called the Berkshire Flyer, will bring passengers between New York City and Pittsfield, Mass. The service will start as a pilot on July 8 and will be operated on the weekends throughout the summer with a similar schedule planned for next year.

Amtrak President and CEO Stephen Gardner said the new route "will offer a more comfortable and convenient transportation option, that's also more environmentally friendly, for people traveling between New York City and Berkshire County, along with easy access to musical performances at Tanglewood."

Travelers will be able to board the new train route at 3:16 p.m. on Friday afternoons from New York's Penn Station and take it up to Massachusetts via the Albany-Rensselaer station in New York, according to Amtrak. A return trip will then be run at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoons. Tickets will go on sale for the new route in May.

Empire Service train approaches the Anthony's Nose tunnel near the Bear Mountain Bridge in Cortlandt, New York
Courtesy of Amtrak

Each Berkshire Flyer train will feature perks like free Wi-Fi and the ability to bring two personal items and two carry-on bags on board.

"Western Massachusetts and the Berkshire Region offer a whole host of cultural and recreational opportunities during the summer and we hope this pilot service will encourage even more visitors to this part of our state," Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement, adding the train will operate "during the busiest tourist times this summer."

Last week, Amtrak eliminated its mask requirement on board for both customers and employees, but the company does require employees to either be vaccinated or take a COVID-19 test on a weekly basis. The rail company also allows travelers to book a train based on how full it is in real time.

Additionally, Amtrak is waiving all change fees for reservations made by May 31.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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