Railroads were first introduced in New York State with construction of the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad in 1826. This mechanized travel arrived less than 10 years after construction of the Erie Canal began in 1817. Railroads would forever change the face of travel in the 19th Century just as the automobile and NYS Thruway changed travel in the 20th Century. While the Erie Canal spearheaded westward development in the state and nation, it was the railroads that brought the biggest shift of people and goods westward in the years that followed. Other early New York State railroads, including the Syracuse and Auburn Railroad built in 1837, broadened the impact of rail transport on the region.
Scope of Collection
The collection provides pictorial information showing locomotives and rolling stock of railroads that once served New York State and adjacent states and provinces. Historians will find images of communities served by railroads through the years, giving context to how those communities and their structures changed over time, as well as images of locomotives and rolling stock.