Foliage and Halloween on Track at Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum

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The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum (http://www.berkshirescenicrailroad.org) operates 3 trains a day on weekends and Columbus Day Monday, through October 31, 2010. Families will especially enjoy the Halloween Express trains on October 30 and 31, when children are invited to ride in costume and each receives a small pumpkin and a special toy treat. The 90-minute roundtrip from their restored 1903 Lenox Station in the Berkshire hills of Western Massacshuetts follows the Housatonic River through tunnels of colored leaves, past October Mountain to Stockbridge Station and back. The restored 1920s passenger coaches, pulled by a diesel locomotive travel through time as well as countryside, capturing the Gilded Age in the amber of an autumn afternoon.

Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum locomotive departs Lenox Station for a foliage ride.

The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum (http://www.berkshirescenicrailroad.org) offers a unique perspective on fall foliage, taking passengers 'behind the scenes' of the highway to view the autumn-hued leaves against the backdrop of the Housatonic River with a narrated introduction to the lasting heritage of the Berkshire Hills.

Special decorations make the Halloween Express trains on October 30 and 31, an even more memorable family day-trip.

The Museum operates 20 mile/90-minute excursions connecting Lenox, Lee and Stockbridge, and shorter 7 mile/45 min roundtrips between Lenox and Lee along the historic Housatonic River in western Massachusetts. There are two long and one short roundtrips a day on Saturdays, Sundays and Federal holidays (including Columbus Day, October 11, 2010).

Celebrating the history and significance of railroads in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts since 1984, the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum is an all-volunteer enterprise. Passengers ride in restored 1920s coaches pulled by authentic diesel/electric locomotives. The Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum is housed in the restored 1903 Lenox Station, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Museum and its adjacent Gilded Age exhibit houses in a reconfigured box car are open free to the public. Contents include model trains, historic photos and diagrams of the construction of the railroad and a Museum store with train-related books, toys and gifts. Trips are narrated by a uniformed conductor.

In the autumn, the Railway’s excursions travel through tunnels of fall foliage. October Mountain makes an appropriately-named backdrop, while passing Canada geese, ducks, hawks and even eagles populate the river and Woods Pond at the sides of the tracks. A walking trail leads from Lenox Station over the Housatonic to the edge of the pond where visitors will catch glimpses of waterfowl in a protected wildlife refuge.

Tickets for the 90-minute trip are $15 for adults ($14 for seniors); $8 for children 4-14 and free for children under 4. Tickets for the shorter trip are $9 for adults ($8 seniors), $5 for children 4-14 and free to children under 4. The train is ADA-accessible via wheelchair lifts at the Lenox and Stockbridge Stations.

On Sunday, October 10, 2010 Berkshire Scenic Railway passengers to Stockbridge Station can enjoy an Antique Fire Truck & Apparatus Show, combining vintage trains, vintage fire equipment and fall foliage all in one day. Hosted by the Berkshire Chapter of Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America, the show is open from 10 am to 4 pm. Passengers are always welcome to take the 10:10 am departure from Lenox, get off the train and take the return trip of the 2:20 pm Lenox train (leaving Stockbridge Station at 3 pm) back.

On Saturday and Sunday, October 30 and 31, 2010, families are invited to come in costume to ride the Halloween Express. The regularly scheduled 12:15 pm 45-minute roundtrip from Lenox to Lee and the 2:20pm 90-minute roundtrip from Lenox to Stockbridge trains are specially decorated as kid-friendly, non-scary Halloween trains. Each child 12 and under receives a toy ‘treat’ and a small pumpkins (while supplies last). Regular fares apply.

Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum trains are available for charter, birthday parties and other groups of 20 to 400 passengers. For more information visit http://www.berkshirescenicrailroad.org.

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Stephanie Seacord
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