Passenger Rail Station Location and Design Project
The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct a Passenger Rail Station Location and Design Analysis along the Housatonic Railroad line between Sheffield and downtown Pittsfield.
Funding for the study is provided through the federal Transportation, Community and System Preservation Program (TCSP). TCSP goals which will be achieved through this project include:
- Improving the efficiency of the transportation system of the United States.
- Reducing environmental impacts of transportation.
- Reducing the need for costly future public infrastructure investments.
- Ensuring efficient access to jobs, services, and centers of trade.
- Examining community development patterns and identifying strategies to encourage private sector development patterns and investments that support these goals.
The recently adopted Berkshire Regional Transportation Plan – 2012 supports re-introduction of passenger rail service and calls for “Assisting the Housatonic Railroad to acquire funding to implement passenger rail service.” Also, the 2011 Berkshire Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy also identified regional passenger rail improvements as one of the greatest strategic needs for the region.
The Housatonic Railroad Company is working to re-introduce passenger rail service between the Berkshires and New York City and this project will provide for a comprehensive planning study focused on evaluating the most feasible locations for passenger rail facilities within the communities of Sheffield, Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Lee and Lenox. Recommendations will also be developed for facility upgrades at downtown Pittsfield’s intermodal facility. The study seeks to maximize opportunities for the directly affected communities and the entire Berkshires to benefit from station locations through increased economic, job and housing opportunities, as well as tax revenues.
While BRPC will lead the study, it will involve considerable input and decision-making by the five towns and Pittsfield, as well as closely working with the Housatonic Railroad to determine operational, design and ancillary service needs at potential stations.
This effort is expected to continue through the summer of 2014.