Once upon a time, there were no railways anywhere in the Berkshires and business and economy was limited. Then in the early 1900’s major railways were built throughout the county changing the landscape and the economy of the Berkshires forever. Trains could now traverse across the county, bringing vacationers, products and businesses to the Berkshires. The historic Lenox Station, built in 1903, is a living museum that brings a snapshot of yesterday to modern day visitors. The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, which is housed in this bygone train station, is in the process of being restored to its former glory. This extensive restoration is being funded by generous donations and is run by volunteers in the community. The museum which is considered a non-profit organization is a highlight of the community and the train rides, which just started back up again on Columbus Day weekend, offer some of the best Berkshire scenery available. I recently paid a nominal fee for a gorgeous train ride through the northern Berkshire corridor taking in the amazing autumn colors as we went along. The folks running these rides were very informative so you get a bit of a history while taking in the panoramic views.
Regular train schedules have yet to be determined, but they are presently offering rides which run an eight-mile route, going round trip between North Adams and Adams. These train rides are available weekends beginning in May and will run through the end of October. Also, look for their themed train rides which will start during November and will run through the Christmas holiday season. These rides are always a favorite for couples and families. Children seem especially enthralled with the charm of the train cars. The museum, in Lenox, is open on weekends through the end of October. There you can see the historic station, learn about the history of the railroad and even see some interesting vintage railroad equipment outside of the museum. The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum and train rides are a wonderful way to take in the beauty of the Berkshires, and imagine what it was like in the days of long ago.