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The history of the railroad begins in 1825 in England; however, railroads were soon being built in the United States with the first successful venture carrying goods from Quincy, Massachusetts to Boston in 1827. The New York and Harlem Railroad was the first railroad built in New York State, which affected the Hudson Valley Region in economic, environmental, social and political spheres.
By the early 1850's the Harlem Line had revenues of one million dollars a year and transported nearly three million passengers at a fare of two and a half cents per mile (Drury 54-57, 61).
In 1853, the New York Central Railroad was organized to consolidate 10 railroads that paralleled the Erie Canal between Albany and Buffalo. Cornelius Vanderbilt won control of the New York Central in 1867 and combined it with his New York and Hudson railroads running from Manhattan to Albany. The railroad helped boost population and travel to this region. The freight trains carried mainly iron ore, animals, and dairy products. Dairy, lumber, mining, and circus businesses in Putnam County benefited from the new mode of transportation. Trains helped carry heavy material for these businesses including both raw and processed materials. The railroad also dispersed large quantities of material that could not be used locally. Initially, farmers were against the development of the railroad as the train tracks frequently ran through their property. ...