(Transcribed and submitted by Mary Rhodes)

November 18, 1882 Wellsville Reporter 

The road bed of a narrow gauge railroad is practically completed from this village to Genesee Forks in Pennsylvania, a distance of twelve miles. This work has been done and paid for by a company composed principally of citizens of Wellsville. The control of the work has been entirely local, it has been done by parties deeply interested in the welfare of the project, who have taken into account everything tending to economy of construction, and it is a well founded boast of the management that a cheaper railroad grade of equal extent and quality was never built by any company. This is of course partly due to the condition of the route taken by the road, it being laid out by nature apparently for the very purpose to which it was being put. The gradients are practically of no account whatever, and the short curves and long trestles which are a feature of most of the narrow gauge architecture in this region are not seen.

But all these advantages would not make a railroad valuable, unless the traffic was behind it to make it useful. Anyone who is at all familiar with the resources and products of the region which it is intended to tap, will not question long on this latter point. A journey upon either of the two upriver roads on almost any day and an observation of the amount of lumber, bark and produce of all kinds that drifts down these to this market would easily convince one that the traffic for a narrow gauge was ready made and only waiting to be gathered. To go into details – there is enough of bark from that direction, which could be brought to the Wellsville tanneries by rail cheaper than it could be drawn, to furnish of itself a paying freight traffic to the road for at least two months of the year. There is enough lumber now out and ready to be hauled to Wellsville to keep a road of the proposed facilities of this one reasonably busy this entire winter. These are but two items and form but a small portion of the receipts which might be expected.

Now all these facts admitted, what is the duty of Wellsville’s business men in the premises. Borrow a map which will show you Southern New York and Northern Pennsylvania, and see if that will help you to a more realizing sense of what should be done.

Two railroads are now building, with eastern connections both of which carry danger to Wellsville’s southern communications and threaten to seriously contract its trading area in that direction. The first and most important of these is the extension of the Corning and Cowanesque road, from Elkland up the Cowanesque River. This is of standard gauge, is to be built to Westfield this fall, and there is a strong probability that work will be kept up until the line reaches Harrison Valley, only twenty four miles from Wellsville, and only eight miles from Ulysses, the objective point of the Wellsville line. Over all this proposed route, the road follows the easy grade of the Cowanesque valley. The road is built by the Magee interests and is therefore intimately connected with the New York Central system. Over a week ago cars commenced running over the road as far as Knoxville, and Westfield must now be nearly reached. It is rumored also in regard to this road that it does not intend to find an end at Harrison Valley, but will ultimately be extended through Potter County to Olean. This, however, it too shadowy to need any discussion at present. It is its present condition only that we call the serious attention of our business men to, with its tendency to head off to the Erie road at Corning a portion of our commerce. Then there is the Addison and Northern Pennsylvania, which leaves the Erie at Addison, strikes the Cowanesque Valley at Elkland, follows it to Knoxville and Westfield, and turns southward into the Pine Creek region, with its present terminus at Gaines in Tioga county. This road is being rapidly built and will be in running order this winter. Although this does not come as near Wellsville as the former, it makes an entry into the Pine Creek region on which we have hopefully depended as an aid to future prosperity.

What is Wellsville to do, and why this long prelude? It cannot prevent or hinder the building of these two or any other outside lines. It must, however, act on the defensive and make some effort itself in common with other enterprising villages. The Wellsville, Coudersport & Pine Creek Railroad affords a means of doing this very thing. Even standing by itself, it will be an important feeder to our village interests, although no other part of the boasted chain of which it was to be a link is ever carried forward. Wellsville should see to it that this road is finished. This can be done as well this fall as next year, and should be done before the opposing lines gain a foothold. Money is needed to do this. The right of way and grading has been paid for by the stockholders, and to provide for the balance of the cost, bonds have been issued at the rate of $6,000 per mile. This is a much smaller ratio of bonds than is usually carried by these narrow gauge roads, and as a purely financial investment can hardly fail of being good property. There are a large number of our business men who have stood aloof from the project entirely, and have rather opposed than encouraged the earnest and enterprising men in charge. There is now an opportunity for these men to make a fine investment, serve the business interests of the town and protect its material prosperity from threatening dangers, by subscribing for the portion of these bonds still untaken. There are many who should see it not only as a duty but as a privilege to do this, who are amply able.

Ties, rails and rolling stock can be placed on the road bed speedily if the necessary money is forthcoming, and the road can commence earning its dividends this winter as well as next summer.