The Train Campaign. Bring back the trains.

Did you know that a passenger rail service existed between New York City, western Connecticut, and western Massachusetts until 1972?
It’s true, and the line, along with all of the infrastructure, is still there.

Mission Statement

Mission

To foster a robust network of rail transportation options in Berkshire County, MA, Litchfield County, CT, and neighboring regions.

Vision

We believe that the future of rural America, as well as smaller cities and towns, depends on the connectivity offered by freight and passenger rail because rail supports jobs and connects people. We believe in the long-term benefits of rail-oriented development:

  • Supporting existing businesses and a vibrant retail environment
  • Attracting tourists, new permanent residents, and job-creating entrepreneurs
  • Reducing carbon emissions while supporting agriculture and light industry
  • Creating economic opportunity for everyone, including those without cars
  • Nurturing resilient 21st-century rural communities as well as global cities

Activities

The Train Campaign works to educate citizens, business leaders, stakeholder organizations, and public officials and to engage them in its mission to foster a robust network of rail transportation options in Berkshire County, MA, Litchfield County, CT, and neighboring regions. The Campaign is developing templates that will help similar initiatives that are part of the growing national and international movement to bring back the trains.

Our Team

The Train Campaign is a volunteer initiative with citizens and professionals offering talent, time, & expertise. Join us!

There’s a determined team driving the Train Campaign, but we’re always looking for more skilled volunteers & professionals who can contribute knowledge & expertise, especially media, fund-raising, & network development.

Team

Karen Christensen

Karen Christensen, Founder and President

Karen Christensen is an American entrepreneur, environmentalist, and founder of the Train Campaign. Karen was senior academic editor of the Encyclopedia of Community (SAGE) and the Business of Sustainability (Berkshire) and is the author of popular environmental books including Home Ecology and The Armchair Environmentalist. She is the owner and CEO of Berkshire Publishing, a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, and a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Clark Wallace

Michael Healy, Development Adviser

Michael is a seasoned fundraising leader, currently Senior Director, Campaign at the NYU Langone Medical Center. He lives in New York and Great Barrington, MA.

Clark Wallace

Anna Myers, Graphic Designer

Author and illustrator Anna Myers Sabatini lives in New York City. She is part of a very artistically-inclined family. At age 14 she decided that illustrating books was the thing she most wanted to do, and has worked toward that goal ever since. In 2005 she finished her Bachelor of Arts in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington, MA. She went on to receive her Master of Fine Arts in Illustration at Western Connecticut State University. https://www.anna-myers.com/about.html

Steering Committee

James Mullen, New Marlborough, MA

Clark Wallace, Tyringham, MA

Gary Flood, Washington, CT

Interns & Volunteers

Noah Pott, Media Intern

Our Story

The Train Campaign aims to bring passenger rail back to the United States, starting with popular rural destination west of Boston and north of New York known as the Berkshire Hills, and also including Columbia County, New York, and the northwestern corner of Connecticut. Passenger rail service will provide an economic boost to our communities, reduce the traffic on our roads, and attract new visitors and businesses to our area.

Restored passenger service from Boston and New York City to Pittsfield, MA, will promote sustainable economic development and make the northwest corner of Connecticut and the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts a vibrant model for the kind of rural-urban connections needed in the 21st century.

Businesses offering professional jobs will be far more likely to relocate when there is easy access to New York, and existing businesses, schools, and organizations will thrive.

Projected benefits from restored passenger service on the Housatonic Line:

  • Increased total economic output in the region. The increase during the first decade of the project would total in excess of $625 million dollars additional goods and services produced and sold in the region.
  • This increase in economic activity in the region would bring an average of 610 new jobs to the region (with a maximum of 733 jobs during the initial construction and upgrade of the railroad)
  • The increase in economic activity in the region would provide Connecticut and Massachusetts state governments, and local governments in the region with nearly $29.5 million in additional tax revenues during the first decade of the project
  • During the first decade the affected region would provide the federal government with an additional $55 million in tax revenues
  • The value of residential properties located relatively close to (within a few miles of) the passenger stations for the railroad would increase modestly, generating at least $310 million in additional wealth for property owners, and possibly as much as $619 million. Because these impacts will be spread along the entire region, these changes are not expected to generate significant changes in broad land use patterns (although there may be some changes very near the stations)
  • The availability of passenger rail service and anticipated levels of demand will reduce automobile traffic on local and regional roadways, saving nearly $1.4 million during the first decade of the project.
  • The availability of passenger rail service and anticipated levels of demand will reduce fatal automobile accidents, saving the lives of an expected 8 persons during the first decade of the project and reducing associated costs of fatal accidents by $7.2 million during the first decade of the project.
  • Passenger rail service has much lower impact on the climate than private automobile travel. The availability of passenger rail service, along with the expected levels of utilization of the service, would reduce global warming and result in a reduction of global mean temperature of 2.2 x 10-7 degrees Celsius.

Economic Benefits of Housatonic Railroad Passenger ServiceCenter for Creative Community Development, 2011.