New York Central RR, U.S. transportation compay 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. 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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.