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Berkshire Scenic Railway historic train rides

Out the window, the open ridges roll by as they did a century ago. On weekends, Berkshire Scenic Railway runs hour-long, round-trip historic train rides between Adams and North Adams, and local volunteers tell the story of trains in the mountains.

Trains connected the Berkshires to New York City for generations, and around the Civil War workers bored their way through a mountain with drills and black powder to build the historic Hoosac Tunnel and connect the Berkshires to Boston.

The 10-mile passenger ride connects the two downtowns, and it begins and ends along the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail. Trains leave from the platform beside the Adams Visitors Center on weekends in summer and fall, from Memorial Day to early Halloween, and holiday trains run on weekends from Thanksgiving to Christmas. (Tickets can sell out ahead of time, and you can reserve them here.

The Berkshire Scenic Railway runs historic train rides from Adams to North Adams on the Hoosac Valley Line.
Courtesy of the Berkshire Scenic Railway

The Hoosac Tunnel

The Hoosac Tunnel has been called a feat of engineering, excavating 2 million tons of rock in a straight line. Digging it out led to fatal accidents, and an exhibit tells the history of its making at the Western Gateway Heritage State Park on Route 8 just south of downtown North Adams. It took almost 25 years, and when it was built it was the second-longest in the world (after the French Alps)

It is still the longest active transportation tunnel east of the Rocky Mountains. The North Adams end lies on the east side of town, south of Windsor Lake and Historic Valley Park, and the historic trains do not run through the tunnel, because it is an active freight line — and 15 minutes of total darkness.