By Andrew Harris
The railroad tracks that run east from Wellsville, through Elm Valley and then take a sharp turn north in Andover have been silent for years now. From my house, now the headquarters of both the Wellsville Sun and Hornell Sun, I could hear the distant train as it blew the Scio whistle, and when it blew the last Andover whistle. As the train passed through Elm Valley, I could feel the rumble of the earth from 600 feet above. I haven’t heard a train in a while…..
I have heard plenty of, rumblings if you will, about the good and bad news in Wellsville and Hornell, Alfred and Almond as well. While the absence of the trains rolling through Elm Valley bemoans the industrial losses of an entire swath of the United States, the overall forecast smells of recovery.
Alstom in Hornell has provided hope and good news for our region for several years now, and mostly working on trains. Writing from Wellsville, I think I speak for many in this community who have heard the good news from Alstom in Hornell and been encouraged, even relieved. Collectively, we all have lived through globalization and the rise of internet technology. We all know people who have lost jobs to those powerful forces. It has been great to watch Hornell emerge and prosper. Wellsville seems primed to do the same.
Now, beginning 2022, many Wellsville folk know people who have found great work in Hornell, at Alstom and other growing firms. Soon, the Wellsville Ljungstrom operation plans to add hundreds of new jobs, some of those new hires will likely be from Hornell. Alfred University and Alfred State employ hundreds, and Houghton College isn’t far from the existing railroad. Sounds like a passenger train service could be viable again? Scio, Belmont, Belfast, Caneadea, and other communities could all benefit from and support the idea.
It isn’t just our shared manufacturing base that marries these two communities in destiny. From my rural home on the east side of Wellsville, it takes me less than a half hour to be in Hornell. That takes me through Andover, Alfred, and Almond and I usually have to make at least one stop along the way.
All of these towns have unique assets: Hornell has shopping galore(everyone loves Wegmans,) Wellsville has the Texas Hot(everyone loves the Texas Hot) and a great walkable Main Street business district. Alfred is our counties center of culture and higher education. Andover has artisans like Walker Metalsmiths and the wildly popular Kent Farms and Kent Farms Brewery. Almond connects us all with access to I-86.
High School sports rivalries aside, we are really all one very nicely distributed city, plenty of farms between our markets. We all enjoy the lack of traffic jams, plenty of familiar faces, and the strong support network that you can’t find in the big city. The Sun wants to help better connect our communities and build on the momentum this decade has already presented.
From the onset, we would rather shine light on the good things: The new business opening, the successful student athlete, news about public servants, first responder accolades, or an exciting community event like the Great Wellsville Balloon Rally(which is coming back for 2022.)
The Sun is where you can help strengthen the connection. Whether you live in Wellsville, Alfred, Alfred Station, Andover, Almond, Canisteo, or Hornell…… Bring the good news to us, advertise your business and become a partner, or just share our stories on social media.
Most of us remember the impact of the local newspaper and the way it tied us all together. In the digital age we’ve found ourselves in, the opportunity to resurrect our local media has arrived after two decades of deconstructing the daily newspaper. Help us rebuild that network and be part of what we call The Sun. Your thoughts are always appreciated shoot us an email at [email protected] or [email protected]