NY Railroads Improve Transportation? The Varied Communities Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2410 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Transportation

¶ … NY railroads improve transportation?

The varied communities that existed in the state of New York demonstrated a frontier existence, excluding the states largest city, New York itself. The economic growth the entire state experienced as a result of railroad infrastructure can be seen in the exponential growth of the relatively rural cities in its borders that went from populations of sustained and slow growth to urban centers teaming with industry. One example of just such a growth pattern, as a direct result of railroad proliferation is the city of Oneonta, established in 1796, with a population of 1,416 (1820) that achieved steady growth until 1865 when the population began to increase exponentially to the end year calculations of 8,910 people in 1900. In 1865 the Delaware and Hudson Railroads became established economic entities in Oneonta. The primary source documents from the New York Historical Society, showing a community by 1884 that was a backdrop of the railroad, from the tower view and growth of industry and population continued from there.

In the overall population growth of New York State one can see the exponential growth, especially in relation to railroad development, which by 1853 had developed into a collective network crossing the state.

New York State Population Growth 1790-1870

Population

Percentage of ^

The state continued its development, which was quickened and broadened by the building of the Erie Canal. The canal, completed in 1825, and railroad lines constructed (from 1831) parallel to it made New York the major East-West commercial route in the 19th cent. And helped to account for the growth and prosperity of the port of New York. Cities along the canal (Buffalo, Syracuse, Rome, Utica, and Schenectady) prospered. Albany grew, and New York City, whose first bank had been established by Hamilton in 1784, became the financial capital of the nation.

As New York was one of the first settled regions of the United States it goes without saying that the infrastructural development of the New York railway system boasted a diversity that was unlike the later western developments in that more carriers were present there than in almost any other state. Though this served as a point of confusion initially, prior to the standardization of lines and trains there is much to be said for the fact that the Railroad environment in New York served as a trial consumer system that in part demonstrated the need for standardization in later development, across the nation.

In the United States a turnpike era and then a canal era had immediately preceded the coming of the railroads, which proved to be fast, direct, and reliable in all weather. After 1830 the railroads grew so quickly that within a decade their mileage surpassed that of the canals. While the stagecoach type of railroad car was giving way to the square type in the 1830s, many short-run railroads began to appear throughout the United States. The big cities on the Atlantic Coast became the nerve centers, while inland points were readily connected with one another. Only the Erie Railroad was projected on a grand scale.

The state planning of New York, was in great part done on the pretense that railroads, existing and new would create an economic and social thoroughfare that would rival all others in its coverage and availability.

In general, planners in 1913 mixed high expectations with professional caution. "Your suburbs are your only hope," Dr. Werner Hegemann, the noted German city planner, told his New York colleagues,(42) "and your suburbs only can be reached through much improved transportation facilities. Two things will be necessary in your city planning system if it is to rightly be worked out. First, your railroads must be made the main part of it, second, the fares charged on them must be very low."(43) Transportation routes and transit fares were indeed matters of concern in New York City

The transportation aspects were certainly not the only functions of the railroad though there were crucial in early days, as alternative transportation was lacking. The railroads not only brought people to the suburbs, and subsequently out of the city of New York and other highly urbanized centers, in the state of New York but they brought commerce to these resettled peoples. In an original add associated with rail commerce the emphasis on speed at which products could be distributed through the rail system was seen as one of its biggest social and economic contributions:

Consolidations were also an early aspect of the Rail system in New York, as a result of the diversity of the early systems and the need for standardization, mentioned earlier. The standardization, though controversial at times created a vast network of collective systems that could routinely rely on one another for commerce and trade routs as well as collective bargaining for fare rates and freight rates, that would continue to show that rail systems were economical and effective to meet the needs of the state and specifically to support the city of New York. It has been said by some that the city of New York could never have grown to its present size without the development of infrastructure, through railways to support it.

New York Railroad: U.S. transportation company formed in 1853 by the consolidation of many small New York state railroads. In 1867, Cornelius Vanderbilt became president of the railroad and, through a series of mergers, formed the New York Central and Hudson River RR Company, linking New York City with Buffalo. Vanderbilt continued to expand his railroad empire through financial maneuvers, and in the 20th cent. New York Central trains reached as far west as St. Louis, with trunk lines in six states. In 1914 the railroad reverted to its original name. By 1930, having absorbed other large railroads, the New York Central was one of the leading railroads connecting the Eastern seaboard with Midwestern cities. The only railroad having freight connections into Manhattan, it was an important factor in New York City's food supply.

New York Central was the culmination of a great deal of previous work by railroad pioneers to establish outposts into a growing social and economic environment. On a state level the building of the railroad and its maintenance offered an unprecedented level of labor that could be filled by urban and/or rural dwellers, many of whom could easily access the system right outside their doors. Additionally the products that were now available to most of the state through the railways system had a whole series of manufacture/collection and distribution activities associated with them that could now grow exponentially, as a result of the new demand that was developed as a result of the system's proliferation.

The tunnel, cuts and drainage of the Northfield area required the constant attention of section crews. Many new immigrants found work on these O.&V.V. section gangs and they, in turn, encouraged others to leave their European villages and join them in America. Robert E. Mohowski p.179

Really the railroad system in New York and other places made possible the first thoughts and actions with regard to the highly prized "American" goal/invention of mass production.

A the unification of the vast American market through the construction of the railroads -- themselves the product of antecedent technological development -- leads directly and indirectly to the modern form of business organization. The railroads allowed the aggregation of previously fragmented demand, thus clearing the way for the introduction of mass-production technology

There is really no greater example than in the New York Railway system, as the production levels that existed in the New York region were already high, it was just as crucial for many reasons that markets be linked together and the best way to do that was through railroads.

The issues that the New York Railroads addressed were unprecedented in the United States, and it also made possible the idea that the two edges of this vast continent could be joined together to work as a whole international economy.

The New York Central was responsible for many technological innovations, including the first sleeping car, the first high-powered brakes, and the first centralized traffic-control system. In 1968, after a long legal battle that reached the U.S. Supreme Court, the New York Central and the Pennsylvania railroads merged to form the Penn Central Company. At the time of merger, the New York Central operated in 11 states and 2 Canadian provinces.

Though other areas faced transportation and commerce issues similar to New York State there were none that demanded the scale of action that New York did as the center of immigration, trade and commerce for an exponentially growing urban environment with a subjectively large rural environment sharing resources.

In a not very well-known publication about home town railroads James Catella writes:

People of the rich farm area to be served by such a railroad were thrilled at the idea of getting their goods to the big markets the railroad would reach. Rough and crude wagon roads were their… [END OF PREVIEW]

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