This one, at least, isn't a pipe dream being on all-existing signalized passenger track that doesn't need much of the way in upgrades, with mileage past ALB and overall ridership served similar to the ongoing advocacy for a more robust schedule of NYP-Saratoga Springs directs. I much doubt this study is going to be taken seriously, because it smells like a way for the current MA administration to carve a graceful exit from the previous Governor's Housy white elephant...so my only gripe would be that it's a waste of paper to expend resources on things they're too flip to follow up on in any way. But the service proposal itself is real-world realistic enough for a proper study.
Pittsfield has a population of 45,000 and is the hub for Berkshire Regional Transit Authority: https://www.berkshirerta.com/PDF/BRTA-s ... %20Fnl.pdf
" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. All of Berkshire County's population pockets--from Great Barrington to the south and Adams/North Adams to the north--have fixed-route service to the main BRTA hub at the existing Amtrak station, with bus fares payable by a stock MBTA CharlieCard. As with most funding-starved Regional Transit Authorities the frequencies could be a little better, run a little later in the evening, and be a bit less anemic on weekends (no Sunday service, per usual for Massachusetts RTA's). But BRTA has a pretty impressively robust weekday route network given Berkshire County's remoteness and ties together far Western MA's density pockets and destinations quite effectively. It's functional transit people actually use, in an area where you wouldn't think there'd be much in the way of functional transit.
For example, Adams & North Adams make up the county's second-largest population center with North Adams hosting its own BRTA hub of originating routes...but it's separated from Pittsfield on US 7 by a couple dozen miles of nothing. BRTA Route 1 runs hourly on the :30's to/from Pittsfield Intermodal Ctr. and North Adams, putting the two BRTA hubs and all the local Pittsfield & Adams/NA -fanning routes within two seats of each other all day long. Pittsfield Intermodal, in addition to hosting the Lake Shore Ltd., also takes a few Greyhound, Peter Pan, and Bonanza buses that divert off the Mass Pike for a local stop on the heavy ALB-SPR intercity bus conveyor belt. Because North Adams itself is way out of stop range for any of the intercity buses, BRTA Route 1 gets a lot of patronage as connecting seat to the intercity schedules in Pittsfield.
A NYP-Pittsfield train would have reliable means of estimating ridership because of the pre-existing transit connections that are a lot more robust than you'd normally find in a market that small, and if the study were serious enough about optimizing the Amtrak catchment they'd treat BRTA schedule increases as part of the mix to amplify with more frequencies the effects of how the local buses already get used. Will that study out to be enough ridership? I don't know; that's the whole point of crunching the numbers. But it's definitely not the stuff of voodoo to benchmark an accurate picture, especially if the intermodal component @ Pittsfield is treated holistically by the study.
(I'm not sure what Chatham and any other NY intermediate stops--Niverville???--would have in the way of local transportation. Obviously point-in-favor if there's any local connections there strengthening the catchment on each post-ALB stop on the route.)
As for track upgrades, the Schodack-Pittsfield portion of the B&A is not nearly congested enough to require additional tracks and already has a decent-length span of couple miles of DT around East Chatham. The grades west of Pittsfield don't put any strain on the freight schedules and this would be too few new trains to complicate dispatching enough to require any extra iron. Passenger upgrades would mainly be uprating the track maintenance class from Class 3 to 4 by doing the same rail destressing job that the MBTA did from Framingham to Worcester upon taking over track ownership from CSX. The line was sufficiently overbuilt when it was reconstructed by Conrail and cab signaled in the mid-80's to easily support an in-situ class uprate, but they opted for the lower maintenance class so summer heat restrictions were less of a variable on the freight schedule (hence, the need for destressing the rail to go to a more passenger-appropriate class). The line would already have the CSX-paid I-ETMS freight PTC installation (presumably also used by the BOS-flank Lake Shore Ltd. west of WOR/SPR???), and unlike the ACSES co-install that MassDOT would fund Worcester-Springfield for the large Inland Route passenger schedule this is going to be too few additional passenger trains to bother with anything beyond the freight I-ETMS. ALB's diesel pool will already be well-stocked with I-ETMS units for use outside of ACSES territory on CSX on the Water Level Route and CP on the D&H North.