Just got back from the ride which required me to drive 300 miles roundtrip, but it was well worth it.
After leaving my home base around 5:20AM, I got to Lenox Station at around 8:40am. The last time I was at this station, it was 1992 and it was much different. The tracks were in less than ideal condition and the platform I believe was fenced off. This was during the BSRY's hiatus period. So being able to go into a beautifully restored station with lots of exhibits and history was a plus right off the bat.
Our 5-car consist was bracketed by the #8619 on the north end and HRRC #3601 on the south end. We departed Lenox about 10-15 minutes late and headed north to Pittsfield and CP 150 on CSX's Boston & Albany line, right as an autorack train was passing our train. We then proceeded south to New Lenox and our first photo runby at the station. We returned to Lenox for a bathroom break and #3601 uncoupled and #8619 pulled in to the south end of the coaches so that #3601 would be leading. Second photo runby at Lee was actually 2 runbys, with the first being the regular-scheduled NB scenic train from Stockbridge returning through Lee to Lenox, powered by the #9128 in Conrail colors. Then our train backed up and ran by. Third photo runby at Willow Mills was a pair of runbys. Fourth was at Stockbridge Station, where a few passengers elected to not ride to Great Barrington and rode back on a different train. Upon arrival at Stockbridge, there was a brief memorial for a former NH/PC employee, Peter Lynch, complete with a horn "memorial" ("calling in the flagman"). Final runby was at Great Barrington adjacent to the station and "subway". At Great Barrington, the locomotives "ran around" so that #8619 led us home, coupled with the #3601. Heading north, we had a brief stop in Stockbridge, then returned to Lenox about 5:10pm.
The weather held up throughout the day, though it was quite warm and humid and overcast at times, sunny at others. Train wasn't completely full - if you wanted a window seat, you could find one, for the most part. I was really surprised at the condition of the railroad for being a shortline / excursion line. Welded rail was observed in several sections between Lenox and Stockbridge, something you don't usually find on these types of trips. There was also plenty of scenic beauty, from old stations and historic villages to waterfalls and of course, the Housatonic River. The "route description & guidebook" distributed by Mass Bay RRE for this trip has also come a long way since previous trips I've been on - now full color.
My thanks to the Housatonic Railroad, Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, and Mass Bay RRE for a great day!
Photo Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.com/shadyjayvt/ ... June182011
Runby Videos: http://www.youtube.com/shadyjayvt