|Adams Hopes Scenic Railway Finished This Fall|
|By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff|
01:20AM / Tuesday, September 05, 2017
|Rail ties stacked and ready for installation at the cleared rail line to Hoosac Street. |
Completion of the rail will bring the line to Hoosac Street.
ADAMS, Mass. — The final 6/10th of mile of track for the Berkshire Scenic Railway should be laid in time for fall.
Director of Community Development Donna Cesan said recently that the town hopes to see a complete track by October that will attract riders for the fall foliage.
"They are constructing the track to Hoosac Street and are working hard to allow downtown-to-downtown excursions in time to catch some of the fall foliage tourism season," she said. "They are hoping for completion of the track project in October."
The railway, which travels between Adams and North Adams, was cut short at Renfrew Street because of the condition of the long unused tracks. Last fall, the state kicked in $2.6 million in MassWorks
funding to complete the last 6/10th of a mile of track, which it owns.
The rail will ultimately end at the Adams Station, a former car wash on Hoosac Street that was recently renovated to act as the railway's terminus.
The extension received approval from the Conservation Commission in early August and construction began soon after.
Cesan noted that the October deadline may be tight with both finishing construction and needed inspections upon completion.
MassDOT's Rail Division is responsible for the construction project and hired Wright Rail America to oversee it.
Cesan said the town is also working with DOT's design consultant HDR Inc. on the design and bidding of the passenger platform at Adams Station. That project is likely to commence in the spring.
"We anticipate issuing an Invitation for bids by mid-September but construction of the platform will not begin until early spring to avoid any conflicts with the track construction project," she said. "We would expect the passenger platform will be ready for use by June but this schedule could be negatively affected by weather."
The rail line runs parallel to the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail extension, which was initially delayed to allow for redesign when the scenic rail line became a reality.
Some 9,600 passengers rode the rails between North Adams and Adams during the Hoosac Valley Service's freshman year. Operated by the nonprofit Berkshire Scenic Railway, the 8-mile ride had an abbreviated fall season in 2015 and its first full season last year. Town officials are hoping that the rail will bring visitors to downtown Adams.
Cesan said she is very excited that the project is moving along and noted that Berkshire Scenic's Hoosac Valley Service was recognized by Yankee Magazine
as one of the top five fall foliage trains in New England.