Sure. But as I just posted in the other thread, what's interesting to me is that the cost there is just $240,000, for 20 weekends of a single round trip, at 3.5 hours one-way. (I'd have to go back to sources to confirm -- I think it's actually 20 weekends x 2 years = 40 weekends.)
(The Berkshire plan implies either they're dead-heading back or paying crew to stay in the Berkshires. Does anyone know which?)
A Hiawatha extension is only an extra 2 hours, of equipment that's already running and staffed. Maybe it wouldn't be any cheaper, but it seems plausible that it might not be more expensive.
Wisconsin has a few million in stranded appropriations for additional Hiawatha runs that Illinois is blocking (on behalf of the Glenview NIMBYs). If they could run a trial Dells train for $240,000, they might find a way to do it.
The Berkshire Flyer seems to have popped largely because of one dude who lived in NYC and had a house near Pittsfield, who got in touch with a single rail-friendly new legislator. it makes me think it might be worth asking around.
I do get that NY is an outlier. And that may be the final word here. But if there's anywhere that has close to as many rail-aware vacationers, it's Chicago. We have fewer carless wealthy folks. But we have a fair number of families where one parent can get away early with the kids, but the 2nd parent can't.
There are lots of reasons for caution, and at this point, the Berkshire model hasn't even begun running, let alone proving itself successful.
Still, i think the number of new expansions, and the sense of experimentation behind it, is very interesting. If they succeed, many new horizons open up.