Frank K. Hain and the Manhattan Railway Company: The Elevated Railway, 1875-1903
Organized under the Rapid Transit Act of 1875, the Manhattan Railway Company (commonly known as the Manhattan Elevated Railway, or the “el”) dominated public transportation in late 19th-century New York City. Its four lines extended the length of Manhattan Island into the Bronx, with 334 steam locomotives carrying 1,122 passenger cars over 102 miles of track. From 1880 to 1902, more passengers traveled the el than on any other rapid transit system in the world. Frank K. Hain was vice president and general manager of the company for 16 years, during which time he confronted union organizers, horrifying accidents, and a relentless media crusade for conversion to electric power and the establishment of a subway system. This chronicle of New York’s elevated steam railways illuminates an important era in transportation.
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