Images of Rail: The New York Central System
A full generation has passed since a New York Central emblem dashed across the countryside on a railroad car, but few could ever forget "the greatest railroad in the world." The New York Central System grew from an amalgamation of smaller lines stretching from Albany to Buffalo in the 1830s. Twenty years later, the lines were gathered into a single company. Its phenomenal success did not go unnoticed by Cornelius "the Commodore" Vanderbilt. In his late sixties, when most men retire, he methodically started acquiring railroads in the New York City and Hudson River region. He then acquired the New York Central and merged it with his Hudson River Railroad. The Commodore and his son William, the foremost rail barons of their age, forged ahead with one of the most dynamic future-directed endeavors in the world-a railroad empire that traversed 11 states and 2 Canadian provinces.