Consolidation of railroads a process which got under way soon after the first steam lines were established in the United States has played an important part in the development of the great American transportation systems. As early as 1853 sixteen railroad companies were consolidated to form the New York Central and provide a continuous line between Albany and Buffalo. Over 600 corporations have figured in the history of the Pennsylvania system, and 300 in the history of the Southern. The oldest company in the Southern system, the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company, was organized in 1827 and disappeared by consolidation 16 years later.
Consolidation of railroad properties continued on a steadily increasing scale down to 1890, by which time over 2300 railroad companies established ...