A History of Railroads in Tompkins County
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Lee, Hardy Campbell; Rossiter, Winton G.; Marcham, John
In American railroading, this upstate New York county was a true pioneer, a proving ground.To generate commerce, the county's early entrepreneurs explored ways to transport products and people from and to bigger markets, mines, and the Great Lakes. After considering water routes to overcome Tompkins County's location in a deep valley, investors turned in 1833 to inclined planes and horse-drawn freight and passenger coaches on rails. Steam locomotives soon replaced horsepower. Amid wild speculation and financial crises, more than fifty different railroad corporations were formed, which evolved into seven separate routes through the county. Over time, prosperity waxed and waned for its miners, manufacturers, dairy farmers, merchants, and higher education. But after World War II the auto, truck, and airlines put most smaller American railroads out of business. This illustrated history records a century and a half of colorful railroading, at the end of which only one line remains in the county, carrying long trains of coal to a Cayuga Lake power plant and of rock salt from an underground mine.
The History Center in Tompkins County
history; railroad; Tompkins County; New York