Really wouldn't cost NY anything unless they wanted a Chatham infill on the poke. Albany-Pittsfield is very ops-inocuous, especially after the coming wholesale Empire fleet renewal. It's just taking 1 or 2 trains that were turning at Albany anyway and giving them an extra 2 hours of work before making their originally-scheduled return trip to Penn. Slips pretty effortlessly into the existing churn at Albany, so if MassDOT is paying the way NYSDOT really has no quarrel.Andrew Cuomo probably has little or no interest in funding the segment between ALB and the Massachusetts border.
That proposal always made some lick of sense for slipping into the mix very low- ops-profile and being able to live within a low farebox recovery on the poke from ALB. It's Boston-terminating-Pittsfield that was like a game of telephone gone horribly awry as the interntional misdirect via East-West's inherent unfocusedness somehow made that end up 'the' service mandate where that was never once in history any sort of service driver...and everything is now fucked from the sown confusion.
It doesn't help either that they're still chumming the waters with more misdirection like that North Adams-via-Fitchburg unicorn that's now got blocs of Legislators demanding the state insert itself head-first into the Pan Am company sale. Forget any sense and sanity prevailing now. For one, if you wanted to reach North Adams in shortest time on clock with most passengers in tow you would NEVER be doing a North Station direct via the Fitchburg Main through the curvy sticks of northern Worcester County. You'd be tacking that one also onto SPG Hub as an NNEIRI appendage...L-shaped South Station-Springfield-Northampton route all the way, then divert at Greenfield onto the Fitchburg Main for the Berkshire jog to N.A. You could put it together via same tinker-toys route splicing setup @ SPG Hub that NNEIRI specced for the Boston-Montreal train: half-Inland from Boston meets regular Inland from New Haven cross-platform @ SPG to double-dip with cross-tix at the transfer meet, then up to Northampton and simply divert a wee shy of the Greenfield platform onto the Fitchburg Main westbound to the Berkshires. The NNEIRI options to push some B&A track on the Wilbraham straightaway and some Conn River track on the Hadley straightaway to 90 MPH ends up looking more attractive a reach the more tinker-toy route combos you can come up with. No one...ever...would bother bleeding an extra hour's time on the crazy curves and grades past Wachusett for the sake of frickin' Athol, Orange, and Millers Falls ridership when SS + Worcester + Springfield + Northampton can get tapped in less overall time.
But forget it, folks, it's tankapalooza-town! So we light more study money on-fire studying the direct North Station route that's total ops D.O.A. and rustling the jimmies of more short-attention span Legislators because we're not even pretending anymore that this isn't all one big inside-job arsoning of the very notion of a Springfield Hub. Meanwhile at Springfield Hub there's lots of grumbling from Amtrak Valley Flyer riders (and reciprocal disappointment inside ConnDOT and Amtrak) that the state hasn't made the faintest attempt whatsoever at coordinating bus transfers any way/shape/form with the train schedules to Greenfield. Northampton in particular where the jumping-off point to all the campuses sorely needs the clock coordination and would bring in a large haul if they weren't so async. Because the Flyer is still load-bearing as a Springfield Shuttle on the northern schedule gaps of the half-finished Hartford Line, the train schedules pretty much have to be set where they are for the sake of lion's-share CT ridership. It was understood that MA would be doing the finishing touches on the route integration for transfers, but so far it's been a total non-effort. Almost as if they are treating the very existence of the Greenfield poke as a happy accident they get to enjoy for a few years until the Hartford Line schedule backfill is done and the Valley Flyer disappears entirely when the Shuttles are no longer needed...instead of being the placeholder + jumping-off point for kickstarting the Inlands. Knowledge Corridor commuter rail seeder...or a big tease? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Keep in mind as well, the Hartford Line is still confined to running anemic north-of-HFD schedules because MassDOT never embarked on its one big-ticket obligation in support of Springfield Line commuter rail: the layover yard at Armory Jct. a half-mile east of Springfield Union, with future flex for handling combined ConnDOT/MassDOT Knowledge Corridor/Amtrak layovers. ConnDOT has had to shape-shift its backfill plans for the northern schedules to precision turnarounds and more mid-line layover space in Hartford because they've become resigned to the fact that MassDOT's simply never going to fulfill its commitment and they'll be working crowded nooks-and-crannies @ SPG Union for the long haul. Since Springfield Union itself was majority paid-for by generous fed grant donations, the state has basically rewritten history to write off the Hartford Line as a freebie. Hooray!...Springfield will have dense RUR-like service south-only soon enough because those suckers in Nutmeggia broke their asses playing the long game so we don't ever have to. Maybe they can reach clean over us to shake hands with VTrans on that second Vermonter short-turn frequency in NNEIRI so there's a permanent second frequency through the Valley at less-than zero effort of our own. Oh, and...good luck, Governor Next, with the backlash from the crippling toll charges ConnDOT erects at the state line on all the interstates. We kinda boned you over real good on that one renegging on all our handshake transit commitments with them so they had no choice but to go full toll-war with us to cover their asses.