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The Greatest Highway in the World Historical   By:

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Historical, Industrial and Descriptive Information of the Towns, Cities and Country passed through between New York and Chicago via The New York Central Lines


Based on the Encyclopaedia Britannica


In furtherance of giving the utmost service to the public, the New York Central Lines asked the editors of the Encyclopædia Britannica to prepare this booklet descriptive of and vivifying the historical development of what has been termed "The Greatest Highway in the World."

It is presented to you in the hope that it may prove a pleasant companion on a journey over our Lines. The information will afford a new appreciation of the historical significance and industrial importance of the cities, towns and country which the New York Central Lines serve.

The New York Central Lines enter twelve states and serve territory containing 51,530,784 inhabitants or 50.3 per cent of the nation's population. This rich and busy territory produces 64 per cent of the country's manufactured products and mines a similar proportion of its coal.

This system does approximately 10 per cent of the railroad transportation business of the United States, although its main track mileage is only 6 per cent. In other words the business it handles exceeds that of the average railroad, mile for mile, by nearly 100 per cent. The New York Central carries 52 per cent of all through passengers between New York and Chicago, the remaining 48 per cent being divided among five other lines. The freight traffic of the New York Central Lines in 1920 was greater than that carried by all the railroads of France and England combined.

The scenes that stretch before the eyes of passengers on these Lines are rich with historic interest. Few persons know that the second settlement in the United States was at Albany and that it antedated Plymouth by several years. Probably fewer persons know that the first United States flag was carried in battle at Fort Stanwix, now the city of Rome, N.Y. We hope that the reader will discover in the following pages more than one historic shrine which he will wish to visit.

It has been said that the history of a country's civilization is the history of its highways. Certainly the development of a great system such as the New York Central is an important element in the progress and prosperity of the country which it serves. This railroad is, in fact, a public institution, and it will prosper to the extent that it gives service to the public.

The New York Central Lines have the initial advantage that they follow the great natural routes along which the first trails were blazed by the red men, and are almost free from grades, sharp curves and other hindrances to comfortable and efficient transportation. Thus the road owes its superiority primarily to the fact that it lends itself to a maximum degree of efficiency.

But service as it is conceived by the New York Central, involves many aspects. One is the careful provision for the comfort and convenience of passengers; another is adequate and efficient facilities for serving the interests of shippers. In other words, New York Central service means not only fast and luxurious passenger trains, but also the rapid handling of freight. To give such service requires the highest class of equipment the best rails, the finest cars, the most powerful locomotives, etc. but it also requires an operating force of loyal, highly trained employees. In both respects the New York Central Lines excel.

The inspiring record of the system's growth through public approval and patronage is fundamentally a tribute to the service rendered, constantly advanced and developed in pace with public requirements. The accompanying booklet is in one sense an expression of past achievement, but it is also an earnest of greater accomplishment to come... Continue reading book >>

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