Title: Chemin de Fer Suspendu, A New York. [...
Publisher: Le Pays : journal des volontés de la France
Publication Date: 1877
Print Condition: Good
Wood engraving in black & white illustrating a small steam engine pulling two larger passenger carriages along elevated track with the sleepers clearly visible. There are commercial buildings on a cross-roads below, with a livley crowd of assorted pedestrians adult and juvenile, a dog, three or more horse-pulled wagons and the rear of a horse-drawn bus. On the verso there is the original newspaper print, including a Bulletin Financier, some adverts (including one for an illustrated guide to the Musee du Louvre by Felix Hermet) and one for a forthcoming auction on 6 March 1877. Image: 22.5 x 16 cm. Trimmed down to the borders, a little minor wear at the two top corners. Mounted in new black mounting board (30.5 x 25.5 cm). The very first passenger paying overhead New York railway system consisted of three passenger cars and was limited to one car per hour in each direction that carried a total of 35 passengers at the end on 1870. In early 1871, as the New York Elevated Railway Company, the system's fleet was expanded, and, most importantly, the cable system was replaced in favour of reliable coal-burning steam locomotives between Dey Street and 29th Street. In 1873, a connection to 30th Street and New York Central s depot was finally finished; two years later the tracks were laid up to 42nd Street. That same year, the New York Elevated Railway Company was given approval to begin construction on the Third Avenue El, which opened in August 1878 with trains running from a spur at Grand Central Station on 42nd Street all the way down to South Ferry. I am unable to determine precisely which route is the one depicted here but the bus destination board can just be read as saying "Ferries". The quick success of the elevated rail system was staggering. In the space of five years, Manhattan went from one elevated line reaching from 30th Street south to the Financial District to four separate lines, hundreds of blocks of track, and a system that stretched all the way to Harlem. This image precedes the monopoly takeover in 1880 by Jay Gould's Manhattan Railway Company, is an early and vibrant depiction of the technology at work and a sign that mass transit would no longer be a curiosity but both a necessity and a sound financial investment. Bookseller Inventory # 4269