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Holyoke Train Tour Promotes Economic Development

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WGGB) — Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse continues to promote his city.

He did so on Tuesday by taking business and economic leaders on a train tour.

It began at the Hazen Paper Company and it gave everyone a look at Holyoke is from a new and fresh vantage point.

Mayor Morse invited business and economic leaders to see how the railroad is helping the city economically now and how it can help in the future.

Rail plays a major role in providing materials for many large businesses like the William Sullivan company.

“The railroad is very important to us. We ship a lot of our scrap metal by rail. It’s an efficient way to ship great tonnage of metal and in terms of economics. It’s terrific,” says William Sullivan.

Another example of the way rail brings in materials is Yankee Candle.

Materials come in by rail and are then trucked to the company in Deerfield, says Pioneer Valley Railroad’s Mike Rennicke

“We bring their wax up from the Gulf Coast. It’s a petroleum-based product. Our partner Superior Carriers has a steam operation that liquefies the wax again, puts it in trucks, and drives it up to Deerfield where the manufacturing is,” says Rennicke.

Pioneer Valley Railroad serves not only current businesses but the potential is there for future economic development and that’s why business leaders took this trip.

Mayor Alex Morse calls the partnership between the city and the Pioneer Valley Railroad unprecedented.

The railroad he says does a lot of economic development work on behalf of the city trying to lure companies into Holyoke and the mayor feels that bodes well for the future.

“So together we’re confident over the next couple of years we can really lure companies to come along the rail here in the city,” says Morse.

Chamber of Commerce President Kathleen Anderson says a rail line in downtown Holyoke is an invaluable resource. “Having it come right into downtown Holyoke, it goes by a number of our industrial properties  and we’re looking at re-use of some of the older industrial properties into different uses as well,” she adds.

Pioneer Valley Railroad continues to invest in its property, a million dollars in infrastructure over the last 5 years says Mike Rennicke.

The investment he says is paying dividends as the rail company has doubled its business in the last seven years and continues to grow.



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