Importance Of The Erie Canal

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There were many rivalries between companies, people, and transportation during the time of the late 1800s. The hostility between the railroad and trucking interests had several forerunners. One such example was the Erie Canal and the New York Central Railroad. The Rivalry between the New York Central Railroad and the Erie Canal shows the harsh competition between these two businesses, and the overall transition from the use of the canal to the use of the railroad as the industrial revolution raged on. In the 1850s, the New York Canals were easily in the lead of the industry at the time and carried most kinds of cargo and passengers. As time passed, however, the railroads of New York began to thrive and by 1898 were crushing the canals in tons…show more content…
The first period from 1825-1850 is the strongest period of the canal industry. The Erie Canal was a success with transport and as a source of revenue. The railroads during this time didn’t carry much freight until the end of this period, but over time passengers moved toward the railroad for transportation instead of the canal. The Erie Canal was so successful early on that it tended to stunt the growth and development of the railroads within New York. In 1841, the Western Railway reached Greenbush opposite Albany thus giving Boston a direct if somewhat disconnected rail route to Buffalo. (Ellis 270) By 1851, trains were arriving in Greenbush depot over the Hudson and Harlem River railroad lines. Although prior to 1851, New York jealously guarded the massive investment that they had in the canal system. The Erie and Champlain canals both created great revenues and because of this they brought financial assistance…show more content…
At this point the canal was going the way of the stage coach. The word collapse would best fit the time of the Erie Canal after 1890. The railroads were crushing the canals and there was no way that the canals could come back from this and so in the end the canals began to fall apart and overall collapse. One of its oldest friends, the New York PRoduce Exchange, sadly said that the canals almost ceased to be a factor in controlling and modifying freight rates. That one piece right there shows how the canals had finally fallen apart and even one of their best friends had to go against them, One of the most striking pieces of evidence is the comparison of tonnage carried by the Erie Canal and New York Central Rail from 1855-1898. The canal had 4,022,617 tons in 1855 and dropped to 3,360,063 in 1898. New York Central carried 1,512,128 tons in 1855 and 63,781,083 in 1898. (Ellis 269) In the end this whole competition between the Erie Canal and New York Central Railroad helped boost American development and caused us to move forward as a country and become more advanced and productive. Without this rivalry our country wouldn’t be where it is

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