Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum & Hoosac Valley Line | Connecting Point | Sept. 11, 2019
Articles, Blog

Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum & Hoosac Valley Line | Connecting Point | Sept. 11, 2019

November 19, 2019


>>THERE’S NO DENYING THAT THE
NORTHWEST HILLS OF CONNECTICUT AND THE BERKSHIRES OF
MASSACHUSETTS ARE AREAS OF TREMENDOUS BEAUTY AND HAVE
BEEN VACATION DESTINATIONS FOR AT ONE TIME IT WAS THE
RAILROAD THAT BROUGHT PEOPLE TO THE REGION FOR FUN AND RELAX
TODAY IT’S AN EASY CAR RIDE TO GET THERE, BUT THE NOSTALGIA
OF RIDING THE RAILS IS BEING KEPT ALIVE — THANKS THE
BERKSHIRE SCENIC RAILWAY MUSEUM PRODUCER DAVE FRASER VISITED
THE MUSEUM IN LENOX, AND ALSO HOPPED ABOARD THE HOOSAC
VALLEY LINE FOR A SCENIC RIDE TO NORTH ADAMS.>>ALL ABOARD!>>AS FOLKS BOARD THE TRAIN IN
ADAMS, THEY ARE STEPPING BACK IN TIME TO AN ERA WHERE RAIL
TRAVEL WAS KING. THEY’RE BOARDING A 1955 DIESEL
PASSENGER CAR FOR A SCENIC RIDE ON THE RAILS TO NORTH
ADAMS.>>RAIL WAS THE INTERNET IN
TERMS OF CONNECTING PEOPLE, STATIONS WERE THE HUB, IT WAS
YOUR I MESSAGE, IT WAS YOUR GROUP CHAT, WHERE YOU WENT FOR
NEWS, FOR YOUR MAIL AND WITH THAT, IT WAS THE GATEWAY TO A
COMMUNITY.>>PRESERVING THE HISTORY OF
MAIL IN THE BERKSHIRES HAS BEEN THE GOAL OF THE BERKSHIRE
SCENIC RAILWAY SINCE IT WAS FOUNDED IN 1984. THE ALL VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATION
OPERATES A MUSEUM INSIDE THE RESTORED 1903 LENNOX TRAIN
STATION THAT ONCE SERVED THE AFFLUENT COTTAGERS AND
VISITORS AND LOCALS FOR MANY YEARS.>>THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY HAS A
RICH HISTORY, WE ARE KNOWN FOR HAVING THE MANSIONS
PARTICULARLY IN SOUTH COUNTY. ALL THOSE FOLKS GOT FROM THE
NEW YORK CITY BY RAIL. LENOX STATION BEHIND ME IS A
RESULT OF THAT, AN EXAMPLE OF THAT. CERTAIN STATIONS WERE BUILT
ARCHITECTUREALLY LOOKING A CERTAIN WAY BECAUSE THAT’S THE
CLIENTELE THAT USED IT. AND IT WAS AN EXAMPLE OF
THAT.>>TODAY THE RAIL LINE FROM
LENOX SITS QUIET, FOR NINE YEARS THE GROUP OPERATED A
SCENIC RIDE ON THE LINE. CURRENTLY THEY ARE IN THE
PROCESS OF WORKING WITH THE STATE TO GET BACK UP AND
RUNNING. THE YARD AT THE LENOX STATION
IS A LIVING MUSEUM.>>THE LAST KNOWN PASSENGER
TRAIN HERE INTO LENOX ON APRIL 30, 1971. ON MAY 1, 1971, AMTRAK TOOK
OVER MOST OF THE PASSENGER ROUTES IN THE COUNTRY, THIS
WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE AMTRAK SYSTEM.>>OPERATING TRAINS AS A WAY
OF TEACHING THE HISTORY OF RAIL HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE GOAL
OF THE BERKSHIRE SCENIC RAILWAY. WHEN THE LINE FROM LENOX TO
STOCKBRIDGE WAS NO LONGER AVAILABLE, THEY LOOKED FOR AN
ALTERNATIVE AND STARTED THE HOOSIC VALLEY LINE.>>WE SEE A LOT OF SMILES,
MAKES A LOT OF KIDS HAPPY, NO MATTER THE AGE, IT BRINGS BACK
WARM AND FOND MEMORIES OF TRAVELING ON THE RAILS. THAT WAS THE MISSION OF
BERKSHIRE SCENIC, FOR PEOPLE TO RIDE, HEAR, SMELL THE
SOUNDS OF RAILROAD.>>ON A SHORT SECTION OF SIDE
TRACK IN ADAMS SITS LOCOMOTIVE 1849. THIS 600-HORSEPOWER DIESEL
ELECTRIC VEHICLE OPERATED AT THE POWER PLANT IN HOLYOKE FOR
44 YEARS, HELPING TO KEEP THE REGION’S LIGHTS ON UNTIL THE
POWER PLANT WAS DECOMMISSIONED IN 2014. THE BERKSHIRE SCENIC RAIL
HOPES TO SOME DAY RESTORE THIS TO FULL OPERATIONAL
CONDITION.>>WE FELT COMPELLED NOT JUST
TO SAVE THE LOCOMOTIVE GIVEN ITS HISTORIC QUALITY, BUT ALSO
ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO THE REGION FOR A LOT OF WORKERS, THIS WAS
AN ICON DAY IN AND DAY OUT AS THEY WOULD COME INTO THE
PLANT, THEY WOULD SEE LITTLE LOCOMOTIVES AND AT THIS POINT,
GIVEN THE LAST LARGEST REMAINING PIECE, WHICH WAS THE
CHIMNEY COMING DOWN, THIS IS THE LARGEST ARTIFACT LEFT FROM
THE POWER STATION. 1849 WAS ASSIGNED TO IT BY
HOLYOKE WATER POWER, IT WAS BUILT AT 1113. 1849 CAME TO COMMEMORATE THE
OPENING OF THE HADLEY FALLS DAM. SO IT WAS SIGNIFICANT TO THE
COMPANY, AND THAT’S WHY THEY CHOSE IT. THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS A MUSEUM
QUALITY RESTORATION INSIDE AND OUT. AT THIS POINT WE ARE RESTORING
THE INTERIOR OF THE SCAB BACK TO ITS — CAB BACK TO ITS
ORIGINAL FEATURES AND COLOR. ONCE IT IS RESTORED
MECHANICALLY, WHICH WE ARE CLOSE TO NOW, IT WILL BE ONE
OF THE LOCOMOTIVES USED ON THE HOOSIC VALLEY TRAIN RIDE.>>AS IT MAKES THE SHORT HOP
ACROSS THE YARD AT LENOX STATION AND IT COMPLETES
ANOTHER RUN ALONG THE HOOSIC VALLEY LINE. THEY RELIVE THE ERA OF TRAIN
TRAVEL, EXPERIENCE A SIMILAR TIME AND IMAGINE LIFE ON THE
RAILS.>>IT WAS A CONDUIT FOR WHICH
PEOPLE WOULD CONNECT AND COMMUNICATE, AND THAT REALLY,
FOR THIS REGION, WAS SIGNIFICANT AND THE STRUCTURE
OF THAT IS STILL VERY MUCH PRESENT HERE, AND WE LOOK TO
PRESERVE THE MEMORY OF THAT AND HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND
THAT THIS WAS HOW NOT ONLY DID YOU MOVE FROM PLACE TO PLACE,
BUT HOW YOU INTERACTED WITH PEOPLE, HOW YOU LEARNED ABOUT
THE WORLD AROUND YOU, HOW YOU GOT OUT OF A SMALL TOWN AND
WERE ABLE TO GET INTO THE BIG CITY. THAT’S REALLY THE STORY THAT
WE ARE LOOKING TO PRESERVE FROM THE LENS OF WESTERN
MASSACHUSETTS.

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