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Rivers, mountains and parks: how to see the best views of New York in one train journey

'21.08.2023'

Alina Prikhodko

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A 4-hour train with scenic views of the Hudson River runs from New York to the Berkshires - although only in the summer. Berkshire Flyer Company train Amtrak does not run all year round, but when it works, this is the most popular destination, writes Travel and Leisure.

This year, the train runs between New York City and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, throughout the summer.

Every Friday, the Berkshire Flyer leaves New York for a four-hour trip north, passing through the lush Hudson Valley on its way to Berkshire. On Sundays, the route runs in the opposite direction: the train leaves Pittsfield Station in the afternoon and arrives in New York in the evening.

This season marks the second year of the pilot launch of the Berkshire Flyer, which debuted in July 2022. “Success of the Berkshire Flyer pilot will be evaluated to further understand the feasibility and demand for the service before continuing, decide on the schedule if it continues, and identify specific infrastructure improvements or service changes that may be required,” the press release said. April 2022 Amtrak release.

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Here's what you need to know to make the best use of this popular Amtrak pilot route.

Highlights on Amtrak's Berkshire Flyer

Photo: IStock

All the fun starts at the station Moynihan Train Hall at Penn Station in New York. A brand new hall with glass ceilings, opened in early 2021, located in a restored 100-year-old post office. This is the perfect place to start your Berkshire train journey.

From Penn-station, the Berkshire Flyer train heads north along the Hudson River. The train's first stop is in Yonkers, after which it heads north to the village. Croton-on-Hudson, where the amazingly picturesque Croton Gorge is located. The train then follows the river, making short stops at Poughkeepsie and Rhinecliff, before reaching the Hudson, nicknamed “favorite center of the state” and which makes it easy to find adventures in Hudson Valley and Catskills.

The Berkshire Flyer continues along the east bank of the Hudson River to Rensselaer, near Albany, where it begins south and east towards Massachusetts.

Final stop - Pittsfield (Massachusetts). The city is the gateway to the Berkshires, a countryside dotted with picturesque villages that host some of the East Coast's finest autumn leaf fall.

Photo: IStock

In addition to a thriving arts community and famous farmhouse restaurants, the music center Tanglewood in Lenox (Massachusetts) has been a summer residence since 1937 Boston Symphony Orchestrawhere concerts and events are held throughout the summer.

Seats in Amtrak's Berkshire Flyer

Because the Berkshire Flyer's route is short—a little over four hours—seat options are simple. Travelers can choose between regular seats and business class. In the first case, passengers are offered reclining seats with more legroom and additional amenities such as reading lights and electrical outlets. There are no middle seats on board.

Business Class seats feature more legroom, a wider seat and complimentary soft drinks. Business Class tickets are fully refundable if canceled before departure.

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Regardless of the booking class, it is worth remembering that on the northbound route between New York and Pittsfield, the train runs along the east bank of the Hudson River, so for those who want a view of the river, it is better to book a seat on the left side of the train. When traveling south, between Pittsfield and New York, the best view of the river is on the right side of the train.

Photo: IStock

Meals and benefits on the route

There is no cafe car on the Berkshire Flyer, so bring a bottle of water with you, and if you think you're going to get hungry after a four-hour journey, grab a snack.

With the exception of no meals, the Berkshire Flyer offers standard Amtrak train amenities, including free Wi-Fi, spacious seats, generous baggage and pet policies.

Travel Tips on Amtrak's Berkshire Flyer

Since the Berkshire Flyer departs New York on Friday afternoon, you can expect to arrive in Pittsfield on Friday evening. Weekend travelers will need to be back at Pittsfield Station by Sunday afternoon to head home.

Those who want to stay in the city for more than two nights, but cannot stay for the whole week, must book tickets for Memorial Day or Labor Day weekend, when the train leaves on Monday instead of Sunday, as reported on tourist site Berkshire.

 

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