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By Alex Marshall | Columnist
Senior Fellow at The Regional Plan Association in New York City

Great Barrington, a pretty town in the hilly Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, is a tad closer to Boston than it is to New York City, which is about 140 miles to the south. But if you walk along the main street lined with prosperous stores and restaurants, as I recently did, you mostly meet people from around New York City, those with second homes in the Berkshires or those who once were part-time residents and now live there full time.

This is probably because for most of the last century New Yorkers came to the Berkshires via multiple train lines. The last direct one to Great Barrington shut down in 1971. But the cultural patterns still exist. New Yorkers continue to come to enjoy the scenery, good restaurants and vibrant arts scene. Now they just mostly come by car, about three hours on a good day.

“People are working all over the country to bring back regional passenger train service.” – Alex Marshall, Senior Fellow at The Regional Plan Association in New York City

But regular passenger train service may be on the way back to Great Barrington and neighboring towns. Rail advocates, government leaders and planners are working to revive the Housatonic line, whose tracks are now operated by a freight company with the same name. It’s a complicated endeavor, mostly because three states — Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York — must get on board.

Read the rest of the story at Governing.com

Photo courtesy David Kidd

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