The Berkshire Line originated as the combination of the Housatonic Railroad, which opened between Bridgeport and Canaan, Connecticut, in 1842; and the Berkshire Railroad, which was built from the Massachusetts line northward to two junctions with the Western Railroad of Massachusetts (later Boston & Albany), one at Pittsfield, and one at State Line (Massachusetts/New York). This was a logical route for a railroad. In its 110-mile run from Pittsfield to Long Island Sound, the Housatonic River drops 1,015 feet in elevation and thus was an excellent source of water power to drive the mills of that era (as it still is, to drive today’s hydroelectric plants). Additionally, the northwest hills of Connecticut and the Berkshires of Massachusetts are areas of tremendous scenic beauty that over the years became enduringly popular vacation destinations.
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