• Berkshire Flyer: Pittsfield - New York City Service via Albany

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Arborwayfan
Is it possible that passengers going to stations between NYP and Albany booked up all the seats before potential Pittsfield passengers even realized the train existed? Should Amtrak restrict a certain number of tickets on each train to people going to Pittsfield, and then a few hours before departure release any of them that aren't sold for shorter trips? Should Amtrak offer discounted tickets from intermediate stations along the Hudson to Pittsfield, to encourage people to fill up seats vacated by people who just rode from NYP to one of those stations?

Where to advertise? To reach the crowd that lives along the Hudson, advertise in Penn Station, in Grand Central, and in shared Amtrak-Metro North stations along the route to Pittsfield. To reach the crowd that lives in Manhattan with no car, advertise in subway stations--maybe try to guess which subway stations get a lot of passengers with the money and free time to take a weekend or a week in the Berkshires--busy ones that lead to lots of office jobs? Maybe there's a website or a blog devoted to living without a car in NYC--they would be good to contact for "earned media" attention. Posters on the campus of Columbia and whatnot--places where there are people without cars but with some free time and sometimes with some money.
  by Safetee
First we need to conjure up a viable reason why somebody would want to go the long way to Pittsfield via Rensselaer from NYC.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Safetee, you raise a good point regarding the "dog leg" routing. But so long as there is not an "Interstate 189" roundly paralleling US7 (and will never be insofar as Litchfield County CT is concerned) highway access from NY City to the region is , shall we say, "impaired".

No doubt, that is why the New Haven/PC "The Berkshire" hung on until "The End", or otherwise A-Day Eve.
  by Railjunkie
Safetee wrote: Mon Jul 18, 2022 12:37 pm So, how many hundred boarded the train yesterday for the return to Gotham?
Thirty folks went to Pittsfield Friday. I will take a S.W.A.G. and say not many, as in under thirty. Saw the train on Sunday didn't look terribly busy. However I didn't see a manifest for the count. That train was AMT244 which on Sundays was normally SRO by the time it arrived in Hudson not sure how Amtrak is blocking seats for the PIT ALB and south side of things
  by Safetee
the people supporting this train are basing their support purely on the perception of the niceness of train service as opposed to meeting the demands of an actual market driven service.

Being honest for a moment, damn few people from nyc have ever heard of pittsfield much less want to go there. the big draw for nyc riders is to places like lenox, lee, great barrington etc.

the current shortest route by train from nyc to those hallowed berkshire places goes to Hudson and from there they can drive or take a cab to their destinations. Exiting at hudson is in fact a far superior 7 day a week option without having to stay on the train from hudson up to albany/rens and then over from albany/rens to pittsfield, and then from pittsfield finally down to lenox etc by pov or cab.

Perhaps the Berkshire Flyer should be renamed the Quixotic Zephyr ?.
  by BandA
STrRedWolf wrote: Sun Jul 17, 2022 11:20 am
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sun Jul 17, 2022 8:41 am
bostontrainguy wrote: Sun Jul 17, 2022 8:22 am Why aren't the Powers That Be advocating for the return of the Cape Codder?
Off topic, but isn't there a weekend "Cape Cod Flyer"?

Or did that get the "COVID Scrub"?
You're talking about the CapeFLYER which is operating. https://capeflyer.com/
The Cape Flyer is another train which, like the Berkshire Flyer is probably not well marketed by Massachusetts. In order to take the Cape Flyer from the NYC area you would have to take the Acela or Northeast Regional & change trains at Boston South Station. Great if you want to visit both Boston AND Cape Cod and don't want to drive. Contrast this with the Amtrak Capecodder which continued east from Providence over freight secondaries to get to the Cape Main line. I doubt people in NYC know of the Cape Flyer. Samples from the end of May showed 88-100+ passengers post1598485.html#p1598485 Amtrak Capecodder is recent enough that the passenger counts are worth comparing.

Which is more exciting to someone in the NY area? The Berkshires, Cape Cod, Catskills, Adirondack, Vermont, or Long Island?
  by Gilbert B Norman
BandA wrote: Tue Jul 19, 2022 7:00 pm Contrast this with the Amtrak Capecodder which continued east from Providence over freight secondaries to get to the Cape Main line.
Mr. B&A, why don't we also throw in addition to a Day Cape Codder, the Night Cape Codder, and top it all off, the weekend Neptune?

I'll bet Cape Air handles more passengers in their "puddle jumpers" than all of those trains combined would today:


Incidentially, during '09, I flew KBOS to KACK in one of such. An experience; but not for the "won't flys".
  by BandA
If you plug JFK-Hyannis into Kayak for 7/22-7/24, it gives you $120 roundtrip and 6:15 via Peter Pan bus, or $618 and 1:03 roundtrip via JetBlue. So the old time vs. money, Mr Norman. Amtrak train would be $317 or more roundtrip and 3:39 to 4+ hours, Cape Flyer would be $40 roundtrip and about 2:30 each way.

More back on subject, NY - Pittsfield, Kayak one-way, 7/22, $123 and 3:25 via bus from NYPA or $182 and 3:57 from NYP Amtrak, with a return trip Pittsfield to NYP Amtrak $123 4:00. I didn't see a plane option for Pittsfield!!
  by Gilbert B Norman
Lest we forget, Mr. B&A, to the people who have occasion to go up that way, especially from NY, it's a "money; what's that."

They just get out that plastic thing (I understand they won't even have to do that soon as facial recognition becomes more "main line"), could care less about a printed or any kind of receipt, and the bill is just paid by an ACH debit to a bank account.

On the receipts thing, it seems like at more fast food restaurants - at least those I go to - than not, you must ask for one. Whatever happened to the days of "if we fail to give you a receipt, it's free"?

But to close back on the rails, since it appears the B&A is the only "through" means of transport (and why the New Haven hung on until "The End" - and why some agency or the other has visions of a "resurrection" over that sorry excuse Housatonic RR), I guess it figures that some rail transport agency would "give it a try". I was unaware until Mr. B&A's immediate, that there was no scheduled air service to KPSF and Pittsfield is "not exactly" on any Interstate highway.
  by daybeers
I fear this will have the same outcome of the Valley Flyer service: not marketed at all, too expensive, especially last-minute, low frequency, with fringe use cases.

Honestly, the replacement of old, unreliable, slow, loud, belching diesels with the smooth, quiet, clean electric M8s on the Shore Line East makes it like a new rail line. CTDOT has done a terrible job of marketing it and I fear the service will be scrapped eventually judging by how high the per passenger subsidy is. Sad, as it's become my favorite line in CT and offers the best scenery on the entire corridor with those large windows triple the size of Amfleets. Such a nicer experience than Amtrak actually.
  • 1
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 28