• "Official" Hoosac Valley Railroad Service (BSRM) Topic

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by Jeff Smith
I thought I'd start this thread as a differentiation from the BSRM thread. This thread will cover the scenic railway to be operated by BSRM in North Adams, MA. Please continue to use the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum (BSRM) Thread for discussions concerning Lenox or Housatonic Operations and general museum operations.

Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum (BSRM) is the operator of the soon to start Hoosac Valley Excursion Service in North Adams, MA. Since the excursion service for BSRM ended due to the Housatonic Railroad's refusal to provide Berkshire line access several years ago, BSRM's excursion service from Lenox, MA was suspended. With the purchase of a Pan Am Railroad branch by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, BSRM will be able to run excursions using a rehabilitated Rail Diesel Car (RDC).

Operations are tentatively schedule to begin in October 2015.

The official website: Berkshire Hoosac Valley Service Train Excursions
  by Jeff Smith
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The trains are moving and the tracks are nearly complete.

The Berkshire Scenic Railway is preparing for an October start to the Hoosac Valley Service, which will run passenger excursions on the weekends between Adams and North Adams.

Berkshire Scenic Railway Director Jay Green says volunteers are nearly finished with the restoration of a vintage Budd car to run on the tracks, which are now being rehabilitated.

"We're almost ready to operate a physical train. Most of the major components are operating," Green said on Saturday when volunteers drove the train car back and forth on a small sector of tracks behind the Department of Public Works to test out the newly newly restored and timed engines.
  by Jeff Smith
Anyone want to go to North Adams and Pittsfield? ;-)

From the GCT FB page, old time GCT:
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  by F-line to Dudley via Park
Jeff Smith wrote:Anyone want to go to North Adams and Pittsfield? From the GCT page, old time GCT:
Honestly, it would cost way less, serve many more riders, and be a faster overall trip to re-lay the P&NA midsection whole-cloth and run an NYC-Pittsfield-North Adams train via the Hudson Line and Albany rather than rehabbing the active Housy to Danbury for Deval Patrick's fantasy Berkshire choo-choo. Once you get south of Caanan it's faster on total trip time to drive to the nearest Upper Harlem station, so the only constituency of note left out by going Pittsfield-north instead of Pittsfield-south is Great Barrington. Nobody spends 9 figures on transportation to Great Barrington.

Never happen now of course, but the '92 abandonment of the P&NA midsection was one of Guilford's more regretful "bad old days" earth-salting accomplishments. That one, along with the Armory Branch, is a thru-connecting line where MassDOT in hindsight regrets not being a bit more proactive at intervention and backstopping with some sort of placeholder service to keep future considerations wide open.
  by newpylong
The cost would be astronomical to rip out 12 miles of blacktop on the rail trail and and then rebuild the roadbed Adams to Coltsville from the subgrade up.

But perhaps no more ridiculous than the state of MA buying the Housy to begin with.
  by Jeff Smith
I was of course being tongue-in-cheek; no one expects any Pittsfield or North Adams service, at least not on the lines that the Housy is talking about. I just wanted to illustrate that at one time there was; thank God for BSRM for getting tourist service up and running.
  by Benjamin Maggi
Any updates? I was on their website (http://www.hoosacvalleytrainride.com/index.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) and they hoped to have trains running by the end up September but whenever I call them to confirm if they are running trains now I get nothing.
  by JRG
http://www.iberkshires.com/story/50356/ ... Adams.html

We commenced a soft opening today. Operating tomorrow and Monday; Saturdays & Sundays for the balance of October.
  by Benjamin Maggi
Thank you for the update. That is great news!
  by Otto Vondrak
Benjamin Maggi wrote:Thank you for the update. That is great news!
From what I understand, permission to operate came on a Wednesday, by Thursday the web site was updated with announcement of the "soft opening" to test operations and procedures. The Town of Adams met the challenge and within 48 hours a temporary parking area was set up at Renfrew since the North Adams boarding platform is not yet ready. Hundreds turned out based on Facebook and web site promotion alone to try out the new train ride. It was great to see the trains running after all these years of preparations! Thanks to the kind folks at MassDOT who worked hard to see this project through to completion.

  by Jeff Smith
Indeed, a round of huzzah's to all! for the tireless effort to get this going. Nice to see BSRM back moving on the rails!
  by Benjamin Maggi
In case someone from the BSRM follows this forum:

I have found it very difficult to find out when the trains are running. If you go to through the various webpages you come across the times of the trains, but not the days that are running. If you go to the Facebook page you get the same thing. Someone asked when they were operating for the upcoming (10/17-10/18) weekend and the official response was "Same as last weekend (10/10-10/11). Since the first weekend may have involved Monday operations, and/or Sunday operations, I want to know if they are operating this Sunday (10/18). Calling them doesn't help because the message says to check the website. The website says to check Facebook. I don't see it on Facebook. The Railroad.net forum posting above says "Saturdays and Sundays" but how official is that since it isn't on the website or Facebook site?

I am sure they will get these details fixed over the winter, but for those interested in riding in the near future the schedule has to be posted.

  by Otto Vondrak
Benjamin Maggi wrote:In case someone from the BSRM follows this forum... I have found it very difficult to find out when the trains are running. If you go to through the various webpages you come across the times of the trains, but not the days that are running.
Ben I think you misunderstood my last post... The BSRM found it very difficult to find out when trains were running, too! They didn't know they were running trains until middle of last week. Then it was a scramble to get everyone into position, secure a temporary boarding and parking area, and then get the word out on facebook to let people know about the "soft opening" event. Permission was granted on Wednesday, website and facebook were updated on Thursday. Believe me, no one is trying to keep you in the dark ;-) As soon as the schedule for the rest of the month is known, it will be posted for everyone to see! :-)

And in case you didn't notice, yes, JRG is indeed "someone from BSRM" and so am I (though I am just lowly webmaster who posts what is sent to him).

You couldn't find the schedule because it did not exist yet. I hope this helps clear up any confusion on your part.

  by newpylong
Awesome to see service start up.

A friendly word of advice from someone who has worked that line a lot - when the brakeman flags Hodges tell him to wave that flag like you read about and not just hold it in front of him. People drive crazy on that road. Hopefully a moot point soon as ai heard xing protection left over from the Conn River project will go in there?
  by shadyjay
Great to see BSRM running trains again! Just curious as to why the locomotive AND the RDC? Was it for a backup or for extra visibility on a lightly-used line?

Hope one day the BSRM can once again operate on the Berkshire Line as that was a very scenic trip. Maybe someday.