Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center

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Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center
Bus and Amtrak station
Pittsfield station front with park, March 2006.jpg
Front of Pittsfield station in March 2006
Station statistics
Address 1 Columbus Avenue at
North Street, Pittsfield, MA
Coordinates 42°27′05″N 73°15′14″W / 42.4515°N 73.2540°W / 42.4515; -73.2540Coordinates: 42°27′05″N 73°15′14″W / 42.4515°N 73.2540°W / 42.4515; -73.2540
Line(s)
Connections BRTA
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 2
Parking Yes
Baggage check No
Other information
Opened 1841 (original station)
Rebuilt 1856, 1914, 1956, 2004
Accessible Handicapped/disabled access
Station code PIT (Amtrak)
Owned by BRTA (building)
City of Pittsfield (parking lot)
CSX (track and platform)[1]
Traffic
Passengers (2013) 7,656[2] Increase 6.3% (Amtrak)
Services
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
toward Chicago
Lake Shore Limited
  Former services  
New York Central Railroad
toward Albany
Boston and Albany Railroad
Main Line
toward Boston
Terminus North Adams Branch
toward North Adams

The Joseph Scelsi Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC) is a transit facility located in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts.[3] The $11 million facility is named after Joseph Scelsi, a longtime State Representative who represented Pittsfield.[1] Owned by the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA), it is serviced by local BRTA bus services, Amtrak intercity rail service, and Peter Pan intercity bus service.[3]

Railroad stations have been located at the site of Scelsi ITC since the Western Railroad opened in 1840. The original station burned in 1856 and was replaced by a larger station, which in turn was replaced with a grand union station in 1914. Union Station was demolished in 1968; from 1965 until service ended in 1971, passengers used a small station east of downtown. Service was restored in 1975, with trains stopping at a bare platform and bus shelter. The Scelsi ITC opened in 2004 to combine local and intercity bus and intercity rail operations into one location.

History[edit]

Early stations[edit]

The 1856-built station in 1906, with a Pittsfield Electric trolley

The Western Railroad opened from the New York - Massachusetts state line to Pittsfield, Massachusetts on July 4, 1841; the first train from the state line to Springfield ran on October 4, 1841. A wooden station had been built the previous year at West Street in Pittsfield. Its design, with Greek columns in antis, was an example of the architecture of railroads combining familiar forms with the unfamiliar technology, a juxtaposition common in Europe.[4]

The Pittsfield and North Adams Railroad opened to the north on December 1, 1846. The Stockbridge and Pittsfield Railroad opened to the south on January 1, 1850, and was immediately merged into the Housatonic Railroad. By this time, passengers could travel in four directions from Pittsfield: west to Albany, north to North Adams, east to Springfield and Boston, and south to Bridgeport and New York City.

Like many wooden stations of the era, the 1840 depot did not last long; it burned in half an hour in 1856.[4] A larger station with several square towers was soon built on the same site.[5] The Western Railroad joined with the Boston and Worcester Railroad in 1867 and 1870 to become the Boston and Albany Railroad, which acquired the Pittsfield and North Adams the latter year. The Housatonic became the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad's Berkshire Division in 1892.

Union Station[edit]

A 1928 postcard of the 1914 Union Station

Pittsfield’s Union Station was built in 1914 for $300,000.[1] The building replaced the original Pittsfield Depot, which was already technically a Union Station itself, and was constructed in the Beaux Arts style and had green-veined marble walls, a high-domed terrazzo ceiling, polished woodwork, skylight, chandeliers and tall arched windows. The New York Central-owned Boston and Albany Railroad and the Berkshire Division of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad operated trains through the station to Boston, New York City, Albany and points west.[1] Long-distance trains included the NYC's New England States, and the New Haven Railroad's Berkshire; local service also ran until 1960.

Decline[edit]

Despite the objections of some local citizens the station was demolished in 1968.[1] New York Central merged into Penn Central Railroad, followed by the New Haven in January 1969. Penn Central continued to run the Berkshire and the New England States through Pittsfield until May 1, 1971, when Amtrak took over most passenger service in the United States. Service between Springfield and Albany along the Boston and Albany Railroad route, as well as all service on the Housatonic, was discontinued. In 1975, Amtrak revived the dormant Lake Shore Limited, with a section of the train running from Albany to Boston via Pittsfield. Served by only one round trip per day, the station stop consisted of a bare asphalt platform with a small aluminum and Plexiglas bus shelter for three decades.

Current facility[edit]

The second floor of the building houses two classrooms used by Berkshire Community College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.[3]

Services[edit]

A CSX freight train passes the 2004-built Scelsi Transit Center

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority[edit]

The ITC serves as a hub and a transfer point for most of the BRTA's routes, though service to Williamstown requires a transfer in North Adams, Massachusetts and travel to West Stockbridge and Great Barrington requires a transfer in Lee. Service operates between 5:45 a.m. and 7:20 p.m. Monday-Saturday.[3]

Amtrak[edit]

Pittsfield sees two trains a day via the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited: train 449 travels to Albany-Rensselaer and then connects to the main section of the train before it continues on to Chicago while train 448 travels to South Station in Boston. The trains are scheduled to arrive mid-afternoon.

The Amtrak platform, which is located below the main level of the building, is accessible using a stairway or an elevator. There is a single low-level platform facing the thru track though a passing siding also goes through the station. A wheelchair lift is available for use if needed.

Intercity bus[edit]

Peter Pan Bus Lines offers direct service from Pittsfield to Boston, Springfield, Albany, and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City and other towns along these routes. There is also service to Williamstown on Bonanza and BRTA.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Pittsfield, MA (PIT)". Great American Stations. National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak). Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  2. ^ "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2013, Commonwealth of Massachusetts" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d "JOSEPH SCELSI INTERMODAL TRANSPORTATION CENTER". Berkshire Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Meeks, Carroll Louis Vanderslice (1956). The Railroad Station: An Architectural History. Yale University Press. p. 54. ISBN 0300007647. 
  5. ^ "Pittsfield Plate 002". Atlas of Berkshire County Massachusetts. Barnes & Farnham. 1904. Retrieved 22 October 2014. 

External links[edit]